Alabama ousts Justice Moore for defying order....

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ARogueTrader, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. (Justice Moore will claim he was following God's law, fortunately there is a higher law in our judicial system. Separation of church and state rule!)

    Alabama ousts
    Justice Moore
    9-member judicial panel rules against chief for defying order

    Posted: November 13, 2003
    9:12 a.m. Eastern

    © 2003

    Alabama's nine-member Court of Judiciary removed Roy Moore from his position as chief justice for defiance of a federal judge's order to move his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state courthouse.

    With a unanimous vote, the panel concluded Moore violated judicial ethical standards and removed him halfway through his six-year elected term.

    The complaint [Pdf file requires Adobe Reader] against Moore, outlined six charges, including allegations he failed to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

    Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, who prosecuted the case, argued the judge should be removed because he "intentionally and publicly engaged in misconduct, and because he remains unrepentant for his behavior."

    The chief justice deserved the severest penalty for his "sensational flouting of a valid federal injunction," Pryor wrote in his pretrial brief.

    In his opening statements yesterday, Pryor said the court should remove Moore from office because of his "utterly unrepentant behavior."

    Prior to the statements, Moore's lawyers asked presiding Chief Judge William Thompson of the Court of the Judiciary if he would lead the courtroom in prayer.

    "Absolutely," replied Thompson, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

    Thompson then asked everyone to bow their heads and called on "the Lord to bless this court and these proceedings."

    Moore, who was suspended with pay Aug. 22, said prior to the trial he was "concerned about the court's appearance" of bias, but he would not say whether he believed a fair trial was possible.

    When he entered the courtroom yesterday, he repeated his request that the proceedings be carried live on television. Officials allowed only the verdict to be televised.

    On Aug. 5, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ordered removal of the washing machine-sized monument in 15 days. Thompson had ruled it violates the Constitution's ban on government establishment of religion and must be removed from its public place in the rotunda.

    Moore refused to remove the monument, declaring, "The point is, it's not about violation of order, it's about violation of my oath of office."

    "And my oath of office to the Constitution requires an acknowledgment of God," he said. "It's that simple."

    As WorldNetDaily reported the monument, which Moore installed two years ago, was moved Aug. 28 from the rotunda of the Judicial Building to a non-public back room.

    Moore's defense attorney, Jim Wilson, argued yesterday Judge Thompson's order to remove the monument was invalid.

    "Justice Moore had every legal right to decline to obey what he deemed as an illegal order," Wilson said.

    Prosecutors rested their case after about an hour of entering evidence. No witnesses were called, but they played two videotapes of Moore speeches.

    Moore's attorneys objected to the tapes because the contents already had been entered in written evidence.

    Assistant Attorney General John Gibbs said in his closing statement Moore's refusal to obey a court order "undercuts the entire workings of the judicial system."

    Defense attorney Terry Butts retorted in his remarks "propriety is often in the eye of the beholder."

    Butts also issued a warning to the panel: "Remember as you judge Roy Moore today that tomorrow you may be judged."

    A recent poll indicated 79 percent of Alabamians would reelected Moore as chief justice.

    'Second American Revolution'

    About 100 Moore supporters gathered outside the Alabama Supreme Court's courtroom in Montgomery yesterday.

    One backer was Flip Benham – head of the pro-life group Operation Rescue and of Operation Save America – who said Moore's resistance of "those who are breaking the law" is the initiation of a "second American Revolution."

    "He is turning America right side up again in Jesus' Name," Benham's group said in a statement. "We will stand with him!"

    Benham declared Moore "has done more to remind this country of her biblical roots, and the ethical, moral, and legal foundations than any other person in the past 50 years."

    An opponent, Larry Darby of the Atheist Law Center, insisted Moore is in violation of the U.S. Constitution, according to WAFF-TV in Huntsville.

    "The First Amendment dictates a separation between religion and government," he said. "The government has no business making it easier for people to believe there is a God."

    'Save the Commandments'

    Moore supporters launched a "Save the Commandments" Sunday that toured the state with the message the Ten Commandments is Alabama's moral foundation.

    In Huntsville, Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., urged the crowd to oppose the decision not to air the trial proceedings on television or radio.

    "Every citizen of Alabama needs to hear" the proceedings, Mahoney said, according to the Huntsville Times. "It's tragic that your chief justice is [being prosecuted] for simply honoring God and posting the Ten Commandments. The posting of the Commandments unites Americans – 77 percent of Americans believe it should be posted."

    Organizer Rob Schenk said the purpose of the tour, which concluded today in front of the judicial building in Montgomery, was to "bring the principles at stake here into the public arena once again."

    Schenk said he was most concerned about upholding the right of Americans "to acknowledge the sovereignty of God over our land."

    "Secular nations have one thing in common – mass graves, and the reason is that they believe the government is the final arbiter of right and wrong and good and evil," he said.
  2. Lot of angles on this dispute. Alabama AG Bill Pryor has been nominated for the federal bench, the Fourth Circuit I believe. His nomination is being blocked by Democrats, although I'm not sure if he has drawn a filibuster yet. Some on the right feel he went all out against Judge Moore to demonstrate that he could be trusted on the bench. Certainly he has won few friends among the religious right, and I suspect his nomination is toast now. In fact, his political future could be in jeopardy, given Judge Moore's popularity in his home state.

    As for Judge Moore, he is not one to back down from a fight. From a literal legal standpoint, his conduct was at least provocative. Whether it warranted removal from office seems dubious to me. His act of civil disobedience in no way threatened violence or disruption. I think he is right on the constitutional aspects of his case and the federal courts are dead wrong, but they have the final say. This is clearly a case of the legal establishment casting out someone they evidently regard as trailer park trash, who committed the sin of reminding people of an earlier time when southern states defied federal court orders.

    We haven't heard the last of Judge Moore, that's for sure.