Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Lonely Fight against Judicial Tyranny

[Editor’s note: if you want to help Roy Moore in his fight against judicial tyranny, radical gay activists, and agents of the Southern Poverty Law Center, please go HERE]

U.S. federal courts have aggressively attacked state sovereignty over the past several decades. Whether it was this week’s decision on Texas’s simple voter ID law, numerous recent orders trumping local laws with “transgender” rights, 2015’s radical homosexual marriage opinion, or even the more distant Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, States’ rights are in a full and prolonged retreat.

Why? No elected leaders seem interested in taking a real stand to push back against judicial tyranny. No one, that is, save Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Many remember Justice Moore as the “Ten Commandments Judge” who defied a federal judge’s order in 2003 to remove a massive granite replica of the commandments from the rotunda of Alabama’s judicial building. Elected Chief Justice by the citizens of Alabama two years before, Moore argued that the federal order was unlawful, infringing on his State’s sovereign rights. He also maintained that “to acknowledge God cannot be a violation of the Canons of Ethics. Without God there can be no ethics.” But Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary – composed mostly of lawyers – didn’t buy it and promptly removed the chief justice from office.

Fast forward to 2012. Roy Moore ran for Chief Justice once again and, much to the surprise of the media and political elites, first defeated the incumbent Republican in the primary and then went on to win the general election against a Democrat who had outspent him 6 to 1. The Establishment was mortified.

It wasn’t too long before Chief Justice Moore was embroiled in controversy again. This time, the catalyst was the US Supreme Court’s outrageous Obergefell decision which purportedly forced every State in the union to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals. Justice Moore felt this horrendously reasoned decision – literally based on feelings rather than any legal precedent – threatened the democratic fabric of the nation (prior to federal court action on marriage, most States had resoundingly rejected attacks on the institution of marriage. By the time of the Obergefell decision, only 11 States had voluntarily passed laws legalizing homosexual marriage).

Honoring his oaths to the US Constitution and Constitution of the State of Alabama, West Point graduate Roy Moore believed he was duty-bound to resist a decision that Justice Antonin Scalia disparaged as being equivalent to “the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie” and “lacking even a thin veneer of law.”

Perhaps in the most inflammatory language the US Supreme Court has ever seen from one of its own justices, Scalia also attacked the lawless decision for robbing “the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.

Chief Justice Moore agreed. Although he did not call for revolution, he did issue an order as the chief administrative officer of the Alabama courts to judicial officers responsible for marriage licenses explaining that the US Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision had not trumped state law. On the first page of this administrative order, Justice Moore quoted from prior decisions of the United States and Alabama Supreme Courts regarding marriage:

In 1885 the Supreme Court of the United States described marriage as “the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.” Murphy v. Ramsey, 114 U.S. 15, 45. The Alabama Supreme Court similarly stated that “‘[T]he relation of marriage is founded on the will of God, and the nature of man; and it is the foundation of all moral improvement, and all true happiness.'” Goodrich v. Goodrich, 44 Ala. 670, 675 (1870).

Justice Moore then cited recent federal appellate and district cases which recognized Obergefell did not directly invalidate state marriage laws in all 50 states. Given this precedence, and since Alabama was not a party to Obergefell, Chief Justice Moore ordered that “Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act.”

The left was incensed. David Cohen, president of the infamous hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center (the same group whose follower attempted to slaughter Christians in an attack on the Family Research Council’s DC headquarters), made a complaint to Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission. The Commission then tried to convince the State’s attorney general to draw up charges against Chief Justice Moore, but he refused. Unbelievably, the Commission then hired the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ex-director to draft charges against the Chief Justice. In a subsequent four-hour show trial, the lawyer-dominated “jury” then convicted Chief Justice Moore of violating the Canons of Judicial Ethics because of his response to the US Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision. He was suspended without pay until the end of his term of office.

Chief Justice Moore appealed this de facto termination of his judgeship. In support of his appeal, the United States Justice Foundation has filed briefing attacking the justice’s unlawful removal from office (USJF also came to the Chief Justice’s aid in an earlier 2015 case where he sued by a group of homosexuals). USJF noted in its brief that “no one can deny the revolutionary nature of the Obergefell decision” and that its lawlessness was revealed by the fact none of the five US Supreme Court justices who supported it “even bothered to respond to a single point expressed by any one of the four dissenters.”

Attacking the decision as “the product of a naked vote of the political will of a bare majority,” USJF went on to observe that marriage has always been viewed by the courts “as exclusively within the jurisdictions of the states.” The lack of legal justification for the decision was transparent in Justice Kennedy’s repeated statements that “new insights and societal understandings” supported striking down state laws on marriage. USJF noted that these statements proved that Justice Kennedy

knew that there was no original or textual basis for his decision in the U.S. Constitution; that he was not interpreting, but rather imposing his will on the U.S. Constitution; that in doing so he was elevating the power of the majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices above the text of the Constitution; that he was usurping the People’s right to govern themselves by setting out permanent rules in a written constitution; that he was usurping the People’s right to amend their Constitution pursuant to the provisions of Article V; … that he was instituting an era of the rule of man over the rule of law; … and that he was usurping the role of states — as well as the legislative function — to impose on them a new law of domestic relations.

In other words, this was no run-of-the-mill-decision that legal minds could reasonably disagree on. It was a tyrannical, unconstitutional grab for power likely unprecedented in Supreme Court jurisprudence. Given Chief Justice Moore’s courageous resistance to this lawlessness, he should have been championed – rather than terminated – as Alabama’s top judge.

With your help, USJF will continue to fight this battle on behalf of Roy Moore and will join in other fights critical to returning our institutions to the Rule of Law. Please partner with USJF by donating HERE. Your gifts are tax deductible.

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