Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore should be immediately removed from office for a second time, a state ethics commission argued Friday.
The Judicial Inquiry Committee (JIC), an appointed body that oversees the state’s judges, asked the Court of Judiciary to immediately remove Moore for abusing his office by urging the state’s probate judges to defy the federal courts on gay marriage despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision affirming same-sex marriage six months prior in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Last month, Moore and his legal team filed a motion to request all charges against him be dismissed. Moore argued he was not telling probate judges what to do, but rather responding to questions regarding the status of a case. The JIC dubbed his explanation “semantic gamesmanship.”
The Obergefell decision effectively legalized same-sex marriage across the United States, thus solidifying the unconstitutionality of Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban.
“Reduced to its essentials, the Complaint contains six charges alleging that the Chief Justice’s January 6th Order not only constituted flagrant disregard of federal law by directing every subordinate probate judge in Alabama to ignore a federal injunction and clear federal law,” the JIC said. “But also represented an abuse of his administrative authority, and placed his impartiality into question on a matter pending before the Alabama Supreme Court — all of which violate the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics.”
In June, the Court of the Judiciary agreed to hear oral arguments from Moore regarding his motion for dismissal. The hearing was set for Aug. 8 by Chief Judge Mike Joiner.