WorldNetDaily reports,

In a pretrial brief, Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor requested Chief Justice Roy Moore be removed from office for defying a federal judge’s order to move a granite Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.

Moore is scheduled to appear tomorrow before the state Court of the Judiciary in a trial-like proceeding where he faces a number of possible outcomes, from exoneration to removal from office.

In his brief, Pryor said the judge should be removed because he “intentionally and publicly engaged in misconduct, and because he remains unrepentant for his behavior.”

The chief justice should receive the severest penalty for his “sensational flouting of a valid federal injunction,” Pryor wrote.

Moore, who was suspended with pay Aug. 22, said he is concerned about not receiving a fair trial because cameras will be barred from the court room during most of the proceedings, the Associated Press reported.

Interesting. The good news is that Pryor is doing the right thing here. The bad news is that this will free Moore up to run for governor in 2006. My hunch is that he’ll do it and win.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    I share that fear (and it is worse for me, as I live here). However, I don’t think he will be slam-dunk he would have been a generation ago, as I have talked to a number of conservative evangelical types who aren’t too pleased with Moore. Still, my general sense is that he woul dhave considerable support.

  2. Paul says:


    Civil disobedience will now cost someone their career?

    Seems to me this is the exact behavior that lefties are lionized for.

    my observation.

  3. James Joyner says:


    Civil disobedience generally involves commission of a crime. Serving one’s punishment is the essence of civil disobedience; it calls attention to the injustice.

    And Moore is chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, not a private citizen. He has an absolute duty to enforce the law. He’s not being denied to right to practice law or otherwise make a living; he’s just being removed from being in charge of enforcing laws he’s unwilling to enforce.

  4. Paul says:

    James everything you say is right…

    But it were a left wing cause he wold be called a hero.

    That is undeniable.


    And hey- While I guess I am tacitly saying one is right and one is wrong that is not the intent… only making an observation on media/pop culture.

  5. lefty skeptic says:

    Paul – Yeah, if he were left wing, he *might* be called a hero by some idiots on my side of the aisle. (And yes, your assertion is deniable, as it is simply an assertion without evidence.) But the fact of the matter is that he *is* called a hero by some idiots on your side of the aisle.

  6. John Q says:

    Cross posting from the thread on Calpundit (long time reader, first time poster at both places):

    I think Moore played his cards perfectly.

    As I recall, 70% of the general population wanted the monument to stay. I don’t recall seeing any specific polling info, but I imagine that number was much higher than that in Alabama.

    There’s plenty of people out there who resent the judiciary, and plenty who don’t mind the monument. That makes Moore a perceived victims, and there’s nothing stopping him from parlaying that into a governorship.

    Whether this was intentional or not, I have no idea. If it was all a pre-conceived plan, then it was both brilliant and evil.

  7. James Joyner says:

    He played this game in Gadsden as a circuit court judge. That’s what brought him to statewide prominence and easy victory in the Chief Justice race. Frankly, he could have run for governor pretty easily even without this flap, but I do think it will help him. If he was doing it for publicity, though, his timing could have been better. It’s quite a ways until 2006.

  8. Brett says:

    If Moore has a shot at winning the governorship, then why, again, was Howard Dean wrong about the south?

  9. James Joyner says:


    Not sure I follow. A judge isn’t permitted to substitute his judgment of the law for that of higher courts. But, certainly, a governor can run on a platform of being pro-religion, family values, and all the rest. Dean referred to “race, guns, God and gays.” As far as I know, Moore hasn’t talked in any way about race, guns, or gays in all of this–although I could certainly have missed something. And, as I said in assessing Dean’s statement, those are all perfectly reasonable things on which to assess candidates.

  10. chris says:

    Brett: come to Calpundit where your humor will at least be recognized as such.

    James Joyner: lighten up

  11. Paul says:

    (I knew I was going to have to revise and extend my remarks….)


    My point was that if it were a leftie cause the media and pop culture would be all over it… We would have CNN doing stories asking “Is this the end of civilization as we know know it if….” Nightline would run a piece looking at Moore’s detractors and asking if this were good for the country yada yada yada. The next morning the perky Katie Couric would be asking why it occurred- Why was this injustice so strong he needed to do this….

    Then the celebs would get involved. Then the media would report on the fact celebs were involved. (as if it freaking mattered)

    You get my drift– The typical circus.

    Instead, by and large the press is negative.

    Moore is (mostly) using the same tactic the left popularized but he is getting bashed for it by the same group that traditionally love this method.

    Or said with better words– The left has held in the past that anyone who uses this technique is virtuous simply for using it. Now that a right winger uses it there is no virtue in it.

    Surely no matter which side of the isle you are on, the observation is valid, no?

  12. lefty skeptic says:

    Thanks for restating that, Paul.

    Let’s take a pretty equivalent example. Suppose the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of a liberal state, like New York (I don’t think their highest court is called the “Supreme Court”, but you get the idea), put a monument into his court house that quoted somebody (let’s say Jane Fonda, for laughs) as saying that all private firearms should be confiscated. That would be an attack on the Second Amendment about equal to Judge Moore’s attack on the First Amendment. (And personally, I would despise both judges equally.)

    I think the overall reaction of the “liberal” media would be about the same as in Judge Moore’s case. Even if they agreed to some degree with the sentiment, they would recognize the hypocrisy of a judge who attacks the constitution that he has sworn to uphold.

  13. Paul says:


    I see your analogy but I think it went awry. You can hardly call Hanoi Jane’s (hypothectial) statement as historically significant as the 10 commandments. Further you can not make the case that the 10 commandments advocate abolishing an amendment directly.

    Forget hypotheticals let’s look at real life cases. Let’s start with Rosa Parks.

    Every freaking Dem convention, they schlep her up on the stage and wave her like a banner. (it is shameless but that is another story) I swear, after the woman dies they will want to mummify her so they can keep dragging her out.

    Why? What is her claim to fame? She disagreed with a law and was civilly disobedient. Did she cure cancer? No. Did she give us world peace or solve the energy crisis? No. What did she do? She broke the law.

    Now, I know there will be dozens of people that want to defend Mrs. Parks, after all she is a national hero. That is my point.

    Jesse Jackson can not make a speech without the word “Selma” coming thru his lips. He does it so the media will keep bowing before him.

    In these and any number of other cases the people who were civilly disobedient are assigned virtue because they chose disobedience.

    Yet- If someone wants to block an abortion clinic to save unborn children the media trashes them. If a judge wants to display arguably the most historical document ever written about justice in a courtroom, he suffers the same fate.

    Certainly if you live up the the “skeptic” part of your monicker you will admit there is a certain level of irony that the people who find virtue in the people on the left being disobedient now find no virtue in its use.

  14. lefty skeptic says:

    Well, Paul, all I can say is that time will tell. Rosa Park’s civil disobedience has stood the test of time – not too many people these days would think she was unjustified in her action. Will Judge Moore’s disobedience be viewed the same way forty-eight years from now? We’ll see … but if it is, God help us all.

    By the way, the Ten Commandments have very little to do with our system of justice. And I would dread living in a country that was otherwise …

  15. Brett says:


    So someone has to hit all four buttons to fall into the category that Dean was describing as being distinctively southern? You’ve set the bar pretty high, my friend!

    There’s a fair case to be made that Moore’s position on the 10 commandments is closely related to positions on race and gays, although I haven’t seen a smoking gun strategy memo that spells it out in detail. When Moore claims that the U.S. is founded in Christianity, not Buddha and not the Koran, don’t you think that images of (foreign) dark people flitter across the mental screens of his listeners, and probably even his own? No empirical proof offered, of course, but I think that there is an idea nexus here.

    Similar point on the “gays” button. What do you think the Vegas odds would be on Moore coming out in explicit support for the Federal Marriage Amendment if he has future electoral ambitions? And if you want to bet against his declaring a pro-FMA position, I’ll take it!

    Jim, you want to claim that a majority of his fellow citizens would elect Moore because he thinks that the U.S. is a Christian nation and that the courts have been taken over by secularists who are destroying our religious heritage.

    I’m sorry, but if that doesn’t fit the picture of southern politics that people like Zell Miller condemned Dean for evoking, I don’t know what does.

  16. Mac Thomason says:

    Moore almost has to have an ulterior motive for this. He can’t be so insane to think that his current arguments hold any water, not and function in society. It’s clear that whatever Moore’s actual opinions (I think they’re close to his public ones) that he expresses them in ways to get himself ahead. Given that, he almost has to be aiming for the governorship. Or the Senate. Or the White House. He seems to have staked out the George Wallace career path.

  17. James Joyner says:


    I see what you’re saying.

    I think Zell Miller’s argument is that Democrats tend to condescend to and not appeal to people who value those things. I don’t have any evidence to suggest that Moore is a racist, although I’d agree that he’d oppose gay mariage and that sort of thing. As would most Americans, and certainly the vast majority of Southerners.

    I’m not a fan of Moore and certainly wouldn’t vote for him given a viable alternative. I voted for a moderate alternative in the GOP primaries when he was elected in 2002. I had already moved to Northern Virginia by the time of the general election. I suspect I’d have voted for the Democrat, a woman whose name I don’t recall at the moment, as a protest vote in November had I the opportunity.

  18. oswego student says:

    brett marston rules!