Roy Moore is appealing his suspension from the bench

AL Chief Justice Roy Moore in Court of Judiciary hearing.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is appealing his suspension from the bench.

In a brief filed Tuesday, Moore’s attorney says a judicial discipline panel exceeded its authority by suspending Moore for the remainder of his term. It requires a unanimous vote to remove a judge from office. Moore argues the lengthy suspension is a “de facto removal” without the required unanimous vote.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary ruled in September that Moore violated judicial ethics. Moore in January sent probate judges an order telling them that a state court order to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples remained in “full force and effect.”

Moore’s order came six months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry.

Following Moore’s motion Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a statement about Moore’s suspension:

The facts of this case are crystal clear. As Alabama chief justice, Roy Moore made a decision to advocate for his personal religious beliefs rather than fulfill his oath to uphold the United States Constitution. He told the state’s 68 probate judges to violate a federal court order.  In our opinion, the Court of the Judiciary got it right and was well within its authority to suspend Moore from the bench. The rule of law won the day.”

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