Roy Stewart Moore is
a batshit crazy wanna-be minister the current chief justice of the Alabama supreme court. Originally elected chief justice in 2000, he was thrown out of office in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse rotunda. In spite of this, the people of Alabama re-elected him to serve as chief justice in 2012.
In 2015, he was back at proving his credentials as the epitome of judicial activism after he issued an order to Alabama probate court judges stating that they should refuse to recognize or issue licenses for same-sex marriages, in defiance of a federal court order.
A monument to stupidity
A month after his first election to the court, Moore began making plans for a Ten Commandments statue to be placed in the Court rotunda. The day after it was finished, Moore held a press conference in the central rotunda to unveil the statue. In a speech following the unveiling, Moore said, "Today a cry has gone out across our land for the acknowledgement of that God upon whom this nation and our laws were founded… May this day mark the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people and the return to the knowledge of God in our land."
On October 30, 2001, groups including the ACLU of Alabama, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, seeking removal of the monument because it "sends a message to all who enter the State Judicial Building that the government encourages and endorses the practice of religion in general and Christianity in particular."
Glassroth v. Moore, began on October 15 , 2002. Evidence for the plaintiffs included testimony that lawyers of different religious beliefs had changed their work practices, including routinely avoiding visiting the court building to avoid passing by the monument, and testimony that the monument
createdgenerated a religious atmosphere, with many people using the area for prayer.
Moore argued that he would not remove the monument, as doing so would violate his oath of office, as well as claiming that the Ten Commandments are the "moral foundation" of U.S. law, and said, "we must first recognize the source from which all morality springs… by recognizing the sovereignty of God." He added that the addition of the monument to the state judiciary building marked "the beginning of the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people" and "a return to the knowledge of God in our land.".
Additionally, he acknowledged an explicit religious intent in placing the monument, agreeing that the monument "reflects the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men" and "acknowledge[s] God’s overruling power over the affairs of men." However, in Moore's view this did not violate the doctrine of separation of church and state. Moore argued that "the Judeo-Christian God reigned over both the church and the state in this country, and that both owed allegiance to that God".
Pwning and whining
On November 18, 2002, federal U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued his ruling declaring that the monument violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and was thus unconstitutional.
Judge Thompson's decision was given on the 23rd of December 2002 and mandated that Moore remove the monument from the state judicial building by the 3rd of January 2003. Moore appealed the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. This appeal was argued on the 4th June 2003, before a three-judge panel in Atlanta, Georgia. On the 1st of July, the panel issued a ruling upholding the court's decision, agreeing that it violates the Establishment Clause. Additionally, the court noted that different religious traditions assign different wordings of the Ten Commandments, meaning that "choosing which version of the Ten Commandments to display can have religious endorsement implications." But of course, it wasn't endorsing a religion.
Protests and monument removal
On the 14th of August, Moore announced his intention to disobey Judge Thompson's order to have the monument removed. Eventually, a bunch of crazy people like the Reverend Nutcase and Moore himself ran around the place not endorsing religions. The crowd peaked at 4,000 that day, significantly less than the expected 25,000.
The time limit for removal expired on the 20th of August. As specified in Judge Thompson's order, Alabama faced fines of $5,000 a day until the monument was removed. The eight other members of the Alabama Supreme Court didn't like that, and ordered the removal of the statue. That really wasn't endorsing a religion.
Moore said that Thompson decided to threaten other state officials and force them to remove the monument and that a threat of heavy fines was his way of coercing obedience to that order, an action that Moore sees as a violation of his... ummm... rights But of course, he would never infringe on others' rights.
On the 27th August, the monument was moved to a side room in the building, but it wasn't actually removed from the state judicial building until the 19th of July, 2004.
Judge Moore has became a hero in certain right-wing circles. There was talk of him running for governor of Alabama or even President of the US. (If he ran for the latter, he would have done so as a member of the Constitution Party.) Instead, though, he now tours with the giant statue and runs the "Foundation for Moral Law", an organization with Neo-Confederate sympathies. He also writes for WorldNetDaily.
During 2004 Moore campaigned against an amendment to the Alabama constitution that would have removed from it sections mandating racial segregation in schools. During the campaign a former aide of Moore handed people miniature Confederate flags. The amendment was defeated on the ballot by a slim margin.
Despite having lost the 2006 Republican primaries by a 2 to 1 margin, he ran for Governor of Alabama again in 2010, only to finish in 4th with only 19% of the vote.
More recently, he invoked the ghost of Thomas Jefferson in order to shore up a
completely batshit somewhat odd claim that Christians are now being persecuted while Sharia-loving Muslim bastards "people of a religion foreign to our country" were pretty much doing whatever they wanted. But of course, it wasn't endorsing... ah, skip it.
In 2012, he ran again for Chief Justice, helped when the original Democratic opponent was almost as crazy as Moore and was sacked by his own party, leaving his replacement candidate with too little time to campaign effectively. Even then, Moore could barely win the election. A couple of months later he used his regained position to promote birtherism.
Still at it
Judge Moore claimed, in 2014, that the First Amendment only applies to Christians because "Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures" who created us. "They didn’t bring the Koran over on the pilgrim ship," he continued. "Let’s get real, let’s go back and learn our history. Let’s stop playing games.".
Toys ejected from pram redux
Because his previous attempt at defying a federal court went so well, he decided, on the 7th of February 2015, to do so again. When the Supreme Court refused to extend a stay on a ruling striking down a state ban on same-sex marriages - presumably requested by the state to allow time for additional hand-wringing amongst the part of the electorate who were heavily invested in denying other citizens their rights - he exhorted probate judges to defy the federal ruling and refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. For the following week, marriage licenses were in a state of limbo; they may or may not be granted, depending on the county and the sexual orientation of the couple. When Judge Granade reiterated the ruling on the 11th with respect to one county, the situation began to improve state-wide. The Alabama Supreme Court set itself up for a showdown with federal authority by ruling on the 3rd March to halt same-sex marriages. Although Moore recused himself from the case, it's pretty obvious that the rest of the court was happy to follow his lead. At least this way, when the state-level shenanigans are smacked down, he can claim that it wasn't a personal humiliation while still playing the martyr to his supporters.
Toys ejected from pram reredux
And smacked down they were. Afterwards, Moore said that Obergefell v. Hodges was worse than Plessy v. Ferguson "because it affects our entire system of morality and family values." He even managed to pull a Godwin ("Could I do this if I were in Nuremberg - say that I was following the orders of the highest authority to kill Jews?") when discussing the role of precedent in the American legal system. The Christian persecution card also made an appearance.
- Roy Moore's biography on the Alabama Judicial System's website
- Roy Moore orders ban on same-sex marriage licenses
- Glassroth v. Moore (PDF) (M.D. Ala. 2002).
- Glassroth v. Moore Appeal (PDF) (11th Cir. 2003).
- Order No. 03-01 (PDF), August 21 2003.
- Roy S. Moore, So Help Me God Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publisher, 2005, pp. 221-222
- Because, you know, it's like, so unreasonable to be expected to obey court orders.
-  US legal wrangles always look baroque from the other side of the pond
-  a patchwork quilt of misery
-  although the number of probate judges who seems to think that their own religious sentiments have any bearing in the matter is disturbing
- http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/03/alabama_supreme_court_orders_h.html Pity the probate judge explicitly-named in both the federal and state rulings, who has little choice but to defy one of the orders
- In fairness, one judge dissented, but only because he realized the question shouldn't have been brought straight to the conveniently friendly state Supreme Court.