Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Ousted & Disgraced ex-Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice re-Jesuses Voters

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 15, 2012

The appalling irony of it all, is that Moore’s political history is exceedingly marred, because he is the ONLY justice EVER in the history of Alabama to be removed from the Alabama Supreme Court by and through the Alabama Court of the Judiciary November 13, 2003, on ethics charges, for defying Federal Court Order.

Mr. Moore’s job – as any jurist’s job – was to interpret the law, not establish it, not to write it, but to interpret it.

Granted, Mr. Moore is a religious man. No one is disputing his faith. However, we, the people are not and do not elect a chief religious law jurist. We do not elect someone whom is expert in religious law, nor on the basis of their religious expertise, or faith. The United States Constitution specifically states that there shall be no religious test required of any person whom holds any political office.

The No Religious Test Clause of the United States Constitution is found in Article VI, paragraph 3, and states that:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Why, oh why would anyone want to place someone in office based exclusively upon their religion?

Is not that very idea the one which most – if not all – religious people say they abhor in some Middle Eastern nations, in which the religion of Islam is the guiding force?

I find it ironic, if not deeply disturbing that so many otherwise good religious folk want the same thing their Muslim brethren do. But then, I wonder if they see the ironic parallel.

I doubt it.

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore pulls off political resurrection

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 5:30 AM     Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 9:42 AM

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore — who famously defied a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state courthouse — has roared back from the brink of political oblivion to the cusp of getting his old job back.

Moore clinched the Republican nomination for chief justice Tuesday defeating two opponents, incumbent Chuck Malone and Mobile County Circuit Judge Charles Graddick, according to unofficial returns. He is heavily favored over Democrat Harry Lyon of Pelham in November.

Moore’s win is a political resurrection of a career that just two years ago was thought by many to be dead after Moore — for the second time in four years — ran a lack luster campaign for the GOP nomination for governor. In both races, in 2006 against incumbent Gov. Bob Riley and in 2010 in a crowded field of five, Moore was thoroughly drubbed.

But in a Lazarus-worthy political performance Tuesday, Moore may have become the ultimate comeback kid as he harnessed his name recognition, a grass roots campaign and a conservative primary tide to turn back two much better-funded candidates in Malone and Graddick.

On Wednesday, Moore called his resurgence a vindication after his 2003 removal from office and said he is thankful to Alabama voters who want to return him to the office he once held but was removed in disgrace after he refused to obey a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument.

“I’m going to stand up for the rights and liberties of the people of Alabama under the Constitution of Alabama and the Constitution of the United States,” Moore said at a Montgomery press conference.

“Is it a vindication? Yes. Is it a restoration? Definitely. The people put me there the first time. The people did not remove me,” he said. “And the people (will) have restored my position, if I’m successful in November against the Democratic challenger.

“I recognize we’ve still got a race to run and it’s very important that we run a good race.”

Political observers called Moore’s resurgence remarkable.

“‘Resurrection’ is not too strong a word to use. He is resurrected,” political scientist Bill Stewart said. “It’s a remarkable recovery. We were beginning to write him off as a perennial candidate.”

Moore’s campaign was run on a shoestring budget compared to typical judicial races. But Natalie Davis, a pollster and political scientist at Birmingham-Southern College, said he was armed with name recognition in a race with a heavy a tide of evangelical voters who turned out for the Republican presidential primary and gave Rick Santorum his Alabama win.

“The people were coming out yesterday because they were interested in the presidential race more than anything else,” Davis said.

Stewart also said Moore was likely aided by the splitting of the business community support between Graddick and Malone.

The former and likely future chief justice said he thought the Tuesday primary turnout was about moral and social issues, as well as people being concerned about the intrusion of federal government.

“I think people are interested in our day and time about the moral issues that affect this country,” Moore said. “I think they are interested in family values. I think they are interested in their rights and liberties and freedoms.”

Moore was elected chief justice in 2000, but a state judicial panel removed him three years later, after he refused to obey a federal judge’s order to remove the granite Ten Commandments monument.

During the Ten Commandments battle, Moore became an international icon of the culture wars. Satellite news trucks from almost every Alabama station and national and even international news organizations lined Dexter Avenue to capture sign-waving supporters from the far corners of the country who filled the streets and the state courthouse steps.

Gorman Houston vividly remembers those days. Houston, now retired from the court, was its senior associate justice — it’s highest ranking member next to Moore — when he said Moore in secret and in the dead of night moved his controversial monument into the judicial building.

“He did it without consulting with any member of the court,” said Houston, 79. “He told me it would not cost the state any money and it would not result in the court coming under any pressure.

“He was wrong. The monument became the 800 pound gorilla in the room.”

Houston said the circus-like atmosphere that eventually surrounded the monument and Moore became more than the other justices could take.

“I called the other justices together to talk and together we agreed that the monument needed to be removed. But we also felt that Roy as chief had the right to act as he did, so we concluded it would take a court order to resolve.”

Lawsuits were filed and eventually a court order was given to remove the monument. Moore refused to obey the order and then, Houston said, came the crisis.

“None of us wanted to see Roy removed from office,” Houston said. “Justice Moore was a hard working, intelligent chief, and 95 percent of the time it was a pleasure to work with him. But that five percent, that refusal to obey a lawful order of a higher court, that put us all in a situation that was untenable if you are going to continue to wear the robes of a judge.”

Houston said he tried hard to convince Moore to sign a letter stating that he could not in good conscience remove the monument and as such he would step aside and allow Houston to act.

“He would not do it. He refused to step aside — it would have been temporarily — and let the duty fall on me,” Houston said. “I was trying every way to give him a chance to stay on the court but he refused.”

Ultimately a special court removed Moore.

“It was not a happy day,” Houston said. “None of use wanted to see it come to that. But no man, especially no judge, can put himself above the law. If we allow citizens to pick and choose what court orders they follow or disobey, we have chaos.”

On Moore’s victory Tuesday, Houston had little to say.

“I wish him nothing but the best, I really do. I hope he has a good and successful term as chief and I hope that time and experience will better serve him and the people of Alabama,” Houston said.

Moore ran a grassroots campaign for chief justice that emphasized his experience in noting that as a West Point graduate he had served as a military police officer, a local judge and chief justice.

He sidestepped lingering controversy about his Ten Commandments display by saying he would not re-erect the granite monument — sometimes nicknamed Roy’s Rock — at the state judicial building. The fight, he says, lies elsewhere.

“I would not return the Ten Commandments because it would be more about me or a monument about me. That’s what I’m identified with and I think it would be detrimental to the true issue,” Moore said. “The true issue is whether we can acknowledge the sovereignty of almighty God over the affairs of our state and our law. That I will not back down from. I will always acknowledge the sovereignty of God and I think we must.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center sued Moore as chief justice and SPLC President Richard Cohen said he is heartened by Moore’s assertions that he won’t bring the monument back.

“We are agnostic when it comes to his electoral prospects, completely agnostic,” Cohen said. “What we hope though is that he has used the time to read the Constitution so he doesn’t waste hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money again.”

Charles J. Dean also contributed to this story.

Join the conversation by clicking to comment or email Kim Chandler at kchandler@bhamnews.com.

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This story may be found here: blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/03/former_alabama_chief_justice_r.html

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