Roy Moore Removed From Office Again

It looks like we won't have Roy Moore to kick around anymore.


Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been removed from office for his refusal to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges as well as the orders of a Federal District Court Judge regarding same-sex marriage in the State of Alabama:

Alabama’s top judge was suspended from the bench without pay for the remainder of his term, the state’s Court of the Judiciary said Friday.

This is the second time Roy S. Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has been effectively pulled from office, following his ouster in 2003 over his refusal to obey judicial rulings ordering him to remove a Ten Commandments statue from the Alabama Judicial Building.

A complaint was filed by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission charging Moore with violating judicial ethics in issuing an order in January stating that probate judges in the state “have a ministerial duty not to issue” marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In a 50-page judgment Friday, two days after Moore appeared for a hearing in the case, Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary found him guilty of failing to comply with the law, uphold the integrity of the court and “perform the duties of his office impartially.”

A group representing Moore in this case decried the court’s decision as “an unbelievable violation of the law” for suspending the justice through the end of his current term in 2019, noting that he will be unable to seek reelection at that time because of state age restrictions.

“To suspend Chief Justice Moore for the rest of his term is the same as removal,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said in a statement. Staver said that because the commission lacked the votes to fully remove him, “the majority instead chose to ignore the law and the rules.”

Moore, a father of four, was removed from office in 2003 after he refused to remove the Ten Commandments monument he had installed in a judicial building in Montgomery.

He was reelected to the bench in November 2012, and his six-year term runs through January 2019 — at which point he will be unable to run for another term, as Alabama has age limits preventing anyone 70 or older from being elected or appointed as a judge.

In the decision on Moore, the nine-member judiciary court said that a majority agreed with the Judicial Inquiry Commission that Moore should be removed from the bench but noted that only a unanimous ruling could pull him. Instead, the court unanimously decided to suspend him, which takes effect immediately.

The judiciary court’s judgment said it was focusing on Moore’s actions, rather than litigating same-sex marriage, which was ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. In its judgment, the judiciary court said that while some of its members “did not personally agree with” that Supreme Court ruling or think it “was well reasoned,” they could not reexamine that issue.

Instead, they pilloried Moore for his actions, saying that some of what he said in his January order was “incomplete, misleading, and manipulative” and writing that the order’s purpose was to direct probate judges “to stop complying with binding federal law.”

The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission had argued for removing Moore from office, saying that his actions were “even worse” than his behavior when he was removed in 2003, the judiciary court noted. The judgment Friday also said this was the second time Moore has been brought to this court.

This ruling was, of course, easily foreseeable from the minute that Moore decided to take up the mission of resisting a Supreme Court decision that has by and large been accepted in the rest of the nation. At the start, Moore was able to rely upon technicalities to impose his will on the rest of the state. First, he used his authority as Chief Justice to order the Probate Judges who issue marriage licenses to continue not issuing licenses to same-sex couples, then he attempted to ignore the rulings of a Federal District Court Judge by arguing that he was not bound by the decisions since he wasn’t a party to the lawsuit. As was the case when he resisted Court orders to remove the Ten Commandments monument from Courthouse grounds more than a decade ago, Moore of course had no legitimate legal grounds to stand upon, but that doesn’t seem to matter to people in his position. Indeed, loss at the legal level only seems to make people such as a Moore more obstinate in the position that they hold.

The last time this happened, Moore rode the controversy that surrounded his removal from office to a brief attempt at a political career. In 2004 he ran for President as the nominee of the far-right Constitution Party, and in 2006 and 2010 he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Governor before running again for Chief Justice in 2012 and winning by a wide margin. If nothing else, his twenty year history with the office of Chief Justice in Alabama stand as a prime example for why Judges, and most especially appellate court Judges, should never be elected. Fortunately, thanks to the state’s mandatory retirement laws, Moore will be unable to run for his position again when it comes back up in 2019. Theoretically I suppose he could run for Governor again, but the fact that he barely registered in the polls either time he tried that route seems to be an indication that there are limits to the patience of Alabama voters when it comes to his antics. Perhaps this means he’ll end up with a talk radio gig, or perhaps a commentator on Fox News Channel or Glenn Beck”s television network. For the most part, though, we apparently won’t have Roy Moore to kick around anymore.

Here’s the ruling:

In the Matter of Roy Moore by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. I will not be surprised if he runs for governor again and my initial intuition is that he will do significantly better than last time, but have no sense as to how well. I think he could ride backlash to same-sex marriage/the current Trumpian wave to a lot more votes than last go round.

  2. barbintheboonies says:

    Who will be the first right wing nut to say It`s an attack on us Christians. This will get top slot news with their base.

  3. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I agree with you about the backlash helping Moore, but I’m not really sure that a Trump wave will be much more than a small ripple by 2018. How much clout does Sarah Palin, the Trumpkins’ prior savior, have now? Yes, I’m aware that there are big differences between the two, but the cult-like devotion demonstrated by their admirers is the same–huge, but short-lived.

    Moore has nine potential opponents on the Republican side, one of whom is piquantly named “Young Boozer.”

  4. Trumwill says:

    I wouldn’t say his 2012 margin was large. He was a Republican who only got 52% of the vote. He did have a wider margin in the primary, the margin due in part to split opposition.

  5. Trumwill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I was surprised he didn’t do better when he ran for governor last time. He was running against an incumbent the first time, but after the proposition failed Riley seemed vulnerable from the right. That made me less worried about 2014, but even then I didn’t expect him to come in 4th.

  6. Hal_10000 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think he could ride backlash to same-sex marriage/the current Trumpian wave to a lot more votes than last go round.

    I think both those sentiments will be even waker in 2018 (assuming Trump doesn’t win this year). The gay marriage thing is dead. The evangelicals barely care anymore in 2016. I really don’t see this having a long enough tail to support a serious Moore candidacy.

    He might get some support off of anti-establishment sentiment.

  7. CSK says:


    I’m not sure if the same sex marriage issue is entirely dead in Alabama.

  8. Tony W says:

    One would think the cautionary tale of George Wallace being on the wrong side of history would land with these people. Alas, some are unable to learn from the past and are condemned to repeat it.

  9. @Hal_10000:

    The gay marriage thing is dead.

    It is dead legally, but not rhetorically here in Alabama. Further, I am fairly certain there are still Probate judges in some counties who are not issuing any marriage licenses at all so as to avoid issues SSM licenses.

    The Trump wave I am talking about links to thinks like the complaint about political correctness and also the federal government telling the good folks of Alabama what to do. The whole bit with transgendered bathrooms has resonance as well. These issues get to identity and a lot of people in the Deep South think that they are under attack.

    Turnout for primaries in Alabama is pathetic and the Alabama GOP is more than a bit of a mess at the moment (and the Democratic Party is totally moribund). And those who turnout for primaries tend to be more Tea Party/Trumpy/etc.

    Also: I think that the 10 Commandments thing made Moore look like trouble to a lot of people, even in the GOP, while the gay marriage thing makes him look like a hero.

    I don’t expect him to win, but I didn’t think our current two-term governor had a shot at the nomination, either (but he edged into a run-off and the rest is history).


    Moore has nine potential opponents on the Republican side, one of whom is piquantly named “Young Boozer.”

    True, but can I note the Trump managed the nomination at least in part because of a crowded field. That field will narrow before it is all said and done and I would expect a run-off to select the nominee. A crowded field (none of whom have a massive advantage at this point, IMHO) could make it easier, not harder, for Moore to manage to make it to the run-off.

  10. Pete S says:

    @Tony W: I suspect that a lot of Moore’s supporters don’t believe Wallace was on the wrong side of history, but on the side that was wronged.

  11. @Tony W: You’d like to think, but alas…

    And worse, the national GOP has embraced George Wallace’s ethos this year.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    I supose I should say goodbye.

  13. Synoptic 12 says:

    Nine members forming a bias opinion against another while each practice, and multiply sin placing themselves above the law.

  14. Synoptic 12 says:

    The enduring principles that have placed this nation into a position of power, as given us by the Almighty, are disappearing. To remove, or dismiss the foundation as prepared by our ‘founding fathers’, as given to them by One unseen, and to exploit, and set into place false principles; such as the DOMA act, will only further confuse, and bring discord to this nation. There is dissent in the upper chambers regarding such acts as moving in the wrong direction; i.e. (Section 3). These inconsistent, changeable laws are being compelled by worldly, convoluted, and reprobate minds; then setting such statutes as common law. The law is defined as ‘a rule of conduct having divine origin’. This is truly at the heart of the matter, to be determined in the coming days. Either follow the Light, or wallow in the way of the broad road, as many have been accustomed to.
    We certainly are in harms way, when no one will step to the forefront, to address the cornerstone, as set in place by One.

    The U.S. has become a perverted, immoral nation in a steady state of decay. To implement laws which are contrary to the Divine Laws given us by One, will be a direct conviction to anyone adhering to false balances. To negate the true principles, as set forth by Elohim, and institute the branch of sin to be grafted into the root will destroy this earth. Drunkenness has gained support, as to be established in a position which is considered commonplace. This state of erosion is no longer progressive, but has gained momentum, in which the government has intertwined into fidelity; by newly enacted laws, as that being true. However, no such honor shall be found upon implementing false principles upon the foundation of truth set forth by One. To supplant deceitfulness, and to define an illusion as being true, is merely providing the appearance of false traits.

    A consistent way of trying to bring about change, by implementing artificial deception, to be construed as genuine, is contrary to the Laws of Elohim. To deny, or to negate any laws, based upon the Divine Foundation, or to add to the Divine Law, shall serve as the stone which returned upon us. There shall surely be more severe judgments destined for any tribe, or nation, overturning the tables of truth. ©

  15. Rafer Janders says:

    @Synoptic 12:

    Your ideas intrigue me. Do you perhaps have a newsletter I could subscribe to?

  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Synoptic 12:


  17. CSK says:

    @Synoptic 12:

    You do realize, I hope, that this sentence makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, grammatically, syntactically, metaphorically, and literally.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:


    He/she/it has been copy pasting this exact word salad, verbatim, all over the internet since at last 2013.

  19. Synoptic 12 says:

    What do any of you know of death ?

  20. CSK says:


    2012, by my count.

  21. CSK says:

    @Synoptic 12:

    Oh, I’m familiar with death. I was holding my mother’s hand when she died in 2013 and my father”s hand when he died in 2014.

  22. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @CSK: but it makes perfect sense synoptically.

  23. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    The law is defined as ‘a rule of conduct having divine origin’.

    Only by the feeble-minded.

  24. grumpy realist says:

    @Synoptic 12: So I take it you agree with the people who flew the planes into the WTC in 2001, right?

    Amazing what evil people can do when they’re convinced they’re carrying out the word of God.

  25. Mikey says:
  26. Jim Schlembach says:

    Can he be disbarred because of this?

  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jim Schlembach:

    Technically speaking, he COULD be disbarred, as besides walking all over the Judicial Canons, his actions are (IMO anyway) also a pretty blatant violation of Alabama’s Rules of Professional Conduct – specifically 8.4(d) and 8.4(g) . It’s doubtful that he will be.

    The goal was to neuter him, which they’ve done. He’ll never be a judge again in the state of Alabama. Disbarring him as well would just be overkill.

    He could still run for AL Attorney General even if disbarred. Bizarrely, AL doesn’t require its attorney general to actually be an attorney. Go figure …

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @Synoptic 12:..The U.S. has become a perverted, immoral nation in a steady state of decay.

    I sure wish I was havin’ as much fun as you seem to think I am!