Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore will keep his job on the state’s highest court, but he will not make any legal decisions for the rest of his time in office.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary ruled to suspend Moore without pay for the rest of his term, which is up in 2019. The ruling immediately goes into effect. The court’s order called the evidence in this case “clear and convincing.”
Moore’s attorneys will appeal this decision.
Roy Moore appeared before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary on Wednesday in Montgomery to defend himself on complaints brought by the Judicial Inquiry Commission.
The JIC is a judicial disciplinary agency in the state mandated by the Alabama Constitution. The JIC requested Moore to be removed from the Alabama Supreme Court. The commission argued the chief justice urged Alabama probate judges to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage in June 2015. Moore called the charge “ridiculous.”
Moore and his attorneys argue that he “merely instructed the probate judges that the Alabama Supreme Court Court’s orders remained in effect pending ‘further decision’ of that Court. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary had ten days to rule and made its decision on Friday.
The final judgment states Moore violated six canons of judicial ethics. Those canons are as follows:
- he failed to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary
- he failed to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities
- failed to respect and comply with the law
- failed to avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice
- failed to perform the duties of his office impartially
- failed to abstain from public comment about a pending proceeding in his own court
So why was Chief Justice Roy Moore not removed from office?
The final judgment states: “A majority of this court also agrees with the JIC that the only appropriate sanction for Chief Justice Moore is removal from office. Removal of a judge from office, however, requires the concurrence of all members sitting. This means the court could not unanimously decide to kick Moore off the Alabama Supreme Court.
The court also ruled Moore will have to pay for the court proceeding. The final judgment states the case has been a “lengthy, costly proceeding for this court, the JIC and most unfortunately, the taxpayers of this State.”
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from the court 13 years ago. The court ruled in 2003 that Moore disobeyed a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.
WKRG News 5 will have more on this controversial ruling coming up later today on News 5 at 5:00 and here on wkrg.com.