Alabama top justice suspended over same-sex marriage order News
Alabama top justice suspended over same-sex marriage order

[JURIST] Alabama’s Chief Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore was suspended [order, PDF] on Friday by the Court of the Judiciary [official website], for violating judicial ethics by ordering state probate judges to ignore a federal court order requiring them to grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples. Moore issued the edict in January, and that edict resulted in his effective removal from the bench. Although not ejected entirely, as he was in 2003 when he refused to follow an order requiring removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building, Moore is now suspended for the remainder of his term as a justice. Due to the suspension, Moore is ineligible to run for judicial office until 2019, when he will be 72 years old. As Alabama’s judicial rules [Alabama Votes backgrounder] dictate that no one may be elected to a public office after reaching age 70, this most recent suspension effectively disbars him. The nine-member Court of the Judiciary determined that Moore’s January edict purposefully mandated that probate judges violate binding federal law, a decision that Moore characterized as a “politically motivated effort…to remove me as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda.”

Justice Roy Moore was suspended [JURIST report] in May after being charged with violating ethical rules. The Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) accused [complaint, PDF] Moore of failing to act impartially and refusing to follow the law when he ordered [text, PDF] probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses [JURIST report] as their issuance ran contrary to Alabama law. Moore argued that the US Supreme Court ruling only applied to the plaintiff in the case, and that probate judges in Alabama had not been ordered to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The commission stated that Moore is bound by the Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution and has violated the law. Soon after being suspended, Moore filed suit in federal court challenging the JIC’s rule that any judge under investigation must be suspended. In August, the court dismissed [JURIST report] Moore’s complaint, finding that it was not the federal court’s place to intervene in issues of state constitutional law.