Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is set for a hearing at 1:30 p.m. (2:30 EST) today on charges he violated Alabama’s ethical standards for judges.
Moore is asking the Alabama Court of the Judiciary to dismiss the ethics complaint filed by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission. The Judicial Inquiry Commission is asking for a summary judgment against Moore and his removal, instead of moving the matter to a trial.
The JIC alleges Moore’s January 2016 order and his conduct surrounding it encouraged Alabama’s judges to disregard clear federal law.
Moore issued an order in January to Alabama’s probate judges, concerning same-sex marriage. Moore told the probate judges a ban on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples was still in effect until the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling.
But Moore’s order came more than six months after the U.S. Supreme Court in its Obergefell decision had ruled state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.
In a response filed with the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, Moore’s attorneys argue he was simply following the law and established procedure in his order, not defying the Supreme Court.
A thematic deception that infuses the JIC brief is that the Chief Justice ordered the probate judges that they ‘had a duty, under Alabama law, not to issue same-sex marriage licenses,’” the filing argues. “The Chief Justice, however, did not on his own initiative direct the probate judges to follow Alabama marriage law.
“Instead he instructed them that ‘[u]ntil further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court’ they were still under a state-court injunction issued by that Court. He neither endorsed nor criticized that injunction. Because consideration of the effect of Obergefell on that injunction had been pending before the Alabama Supreme Court for six months, the Chief Justice considered it prudent to remind the probate judges that the injunction still remained in effect pending its review.”
Moore was removed from the bench as chief justice in 2003 after refusing a federal court order to remove a 10 Commandments monument from the state judicial building.
Moore was re-elected chief justice in 2012.
Local news earlier:
A very late update from AL.com:
Suspended Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore will go on trial next month on judicial ethics charges after the Alabama Court of the Judiciary late Monday issued an order that denied Moore’s request to dismiss the charges.
The court, in a brief one-page order, also denied a motion by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission that sought an order removing Moore from the bench without a trial.