Credo Action

It’s time to discipline Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

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Tell Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commision:

“Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s attempts to block marriage equality in Alabama are a violation of Alabama’s Canon of Judicial Ethics. He must be removed from the bench.”

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    It’s time to discipline Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

    Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore – infamous for his intolerance and right-wing extremism – recently launched his latest attack against marriage equality by ordering Alabama probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.1

    Justice Moore has been relentless in trying to keep same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses in Alabama, in clear violation of the judicial code of ethics to which he is bound.

    Tell Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission: Chief Justice Roy Moore is violating Alabama’s Canon of Judicial Ethics. He must be removed from the bench.

    The Canon of Judicial Ethics, which governs all Alabama judges, requires all judges to preserve the integrity of the judiciary and maintain public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary.2 Public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of Alabama’s Supreme Court is clearly at risk if its chief justice is allowed to play politics with his authority. Moore was elected to his position, but Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission has the right, and the responsibility, to investigate Moore’s breach of ethics and help hold him accountable for his actions.3

    In the last few years, grassroots mobilization has helped ensure marriage equality across the country. But our work is not done. We need to be vigilant in our fight for equality, and speak out with force against public officials, especially ones with a national profile, like Judge Moore to say that obstructionist anti-gay discrimination is unacceptable.

    Tell Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission: Chief Justice Roy Moore is violating Alabama’s Canon of Judicial Ethics. He must be removed from the bench.

    This is not the first time that Moore’s extremist right-wing politics have clashed with the Constitution. In 2003, during his first term as Chief Justice, he commissioned a monument of the Ten Commandments, had it placed in the Alabama Judicial Building and then refused to remove it, despite orders from a federal judge. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary, acting on a complaint from the Judicial Inquiry Commission, removed Moore from office. 4

    Moore’s aggressive use of his office to promote his personal beliefs about marriage equality is no different. In addition to this month's action, last February Moore also ordered probate judges to ignore a federal court ruling mandating marriage equality the day before it took effect.5

    And last January, Moore also sent a letter to Alabama’s governor, on Supreme Court letterhead, railing against attempts by the federal courts to destroy the institution of marriage. In the letter, which he released to the press, and conducted interviews about, Moore also exhorted the governor to join him in acting to “oppose such tyranny” and made clear that he would continue to enforce Alabama’s marriage restrictions, regardless of any federal court order.6

    Moore’s obstructionism is so extreme that the daughter of Alabama’s notorious, segregationist Governor George Wallace’s just wrote an op-ed calling Moore “more dangerous than my father.”7 It’s clearly time for Alabama’s judiciary to take action to preserve the integrity of Alabama’s highest court.

    Tell Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission: Chief Justice Roy Moore is violating Alabama’s Canon of Judicial Ethics. He must be removed from the bench.

    Thanks for standing up for marriage equality.

    References:
    1. Colleen Jenkins, “Alabama chief justice orders halt to same-sex marriage licenses ,” Reuters, 1/6/2016.
    2. Canon 1, Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics
    3. Court of the Judiciary Overview, Alabama Appellate Courts
    4. “Ten Commandments judge removed from office,” CNN, 11/14/2003.
    5. Alan Blinder, “Alabama judge defies gay marriage law,” New York Times, 2/8/2015.
    6. Letter from Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore To Alabama Governor Robert Bentley
    7. Peggy Wallace Kennedy, “Wallace's daughter: Roy Moore is more dangerous than my father,” AL.com, 1/7/2016.