Roy Moore, Ten Commandments Judge, Running for Alabama Governor

Roy Moore, who came to prominence in a series of disputes over the display of the Ten Commandments in public courthouses, has announced that he is running for governor of Alabama in 2006.

Ten Commandments judge to run for Alabama governor (Reuters)

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was fired in 2003 for disobeying a federal order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a courthouse, said on Monday he would be a candidate for governor of Alabama in 2006. Moore, a fundamentalist Christian from northern Alabama who supports school prayer and opposes gay marriage, pledged to fight against higher taxes, tighten restrictions on illegal immigrants and improve education if elected. “It is a crucial time to run for office when rights and liberties are being eroded, taxes climb, the education of our children declines and morality erodes while judges tell children they cannot pray,” Moore said at a rally in Gadsden, 63 miles northeast of Birmingham. “I believe that God is leading me to uphold the laws in Alabama and guide its policies,” Moore said in an interview after he announced his candidacy.

Moore, 58, is attempting to wrest the state’s top job from Bob Riley, a pro-business Republican who has seen his popularity drop since 2003, when his tax-restructuring plan was rejected by voters in the conservative state. Riley is expected to announce his re-election bid later this week, setting up a showdown with Moore in the June 6 primary.

Elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2000, Moore rose to national prominence in 2003 when he refused to remove a Ten Commandments display from a public area in the state judiciary building in Montgomery. U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson had ruled that the 5,000-pound (2.3-ton) stone marker, installed by Moore and his supporters in 2001, violated the constitutional ban on government promotion of religion.

Moore contended the order was unlawful because it countermanded his constitutional obligation to acknowledge God. His stand triggered a national debate over the role of religion in public life, prompting thousands of fundamentalist Christians to rally to his side and several state legislatures to consider legislation to protect Ten Commandments displays. But civil libertarians accused Moore and his supporters of trying impose their religious beliefs on others.

The standoff ended when state officials intervened and removed the display, which now sits in a church in Gadsden. Moore later was dismissed from his position on Alabama’s high court by a specially convened panel of mostly retired judges.

Moore came to statewide prominence as a judge in Etowah county (Gadsden) when he was sued for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom. He rode that stance to election as Chief Justice and may well get elected governor on that basis.

The man is a West Point graduate and a very bright and capable man, belying the rube image most non-Alabamians likely have of him. While I disagree with Moore on religious grounds and was rooting for his impeachment for flouting the rule of law as a judge, I nonetheless believe his stance principled rather than mere pandering to a very Evangelical electorate in the Heart of Dixie. I hope he will lose his bid for the governorship but fear that he will not.

Steven Taylor, who still lives in Alabama and is in much greater accord with Moore’s religious beliefs than I am agrees:

In case Mr. Moore hasn̢۪t noticed: there are a lot of churches in Alabama. I am certain that our religious liberties, and our rights to acknowledge God as we see fit, are wholly protected.

Quite so.


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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. bryan says:

    At the APSA meeting last spring, the pollster said Moore would pull around 25 percent of his own party and about that much with evangelical christians. Unless those numbers have changed drastically, I can’t imagine moore has a prayer.

    Of course, it’s politics.

  2. James Joyner says:

    A poll a few months back had Moore easily winning the Republican nomination. Given the politics of the state and the likely Democratic challengers, that may well translate to a Moore victory.

    He easily sailed to the Chief Justiceship with virtually everything we now know on the table. Moderate Republicans divided their vote among two highly qualified candidates and Moore easily took the nomination. Despite a lot of Republicans saying they would back the Democrat in the general election, she got absolutely clobbered.

  3. Baron says:

    I lived in Alabama for six years, during which Roy Moore pulled his stunt for which he is now widely known. This summer, I was back down there working in Montgomery. At work, we speculated that Moore would run for governor.

    The consensus was that he would lose. Badly.

    His only fighting chance is that Bob Riley may be more disliked among Republicans in Alabama than Hillary Clinton.

    Lucy Baxley, the Democrat Lt. Governor will walk in that election, winning by double digits…

    If I were voting, I would vote for her over those other three clowns (Riley, Siegelman, Moore). And that is coming from a lifelong Republican…

  4. Paul Burkett says:

    Moore stood up for the Lord against massive opposition. He was and is mocked and cursed and well, many of the things that Jesus said would happen to a person if they stood for Him have probably happened to Moore. The Tens of Thousands of cases in law books throughout our country have proved over time that the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches need Divine assistance at every level. I will pray for Judge Moore.

  5. McGehee says:

    I will pray for Judge Moore.

    Me too.

    But I wouldn’t vote for him.

  6. Barry says:

    Paul, Moore stood up for his own ego. He’s been mocked, quite rightfully, probably cursed (but not half as bad as Cindy Sheehan, for one). ‘Many of the things that Jesus said…’ have happened to him? That’s a bit weak. I don’t think that the movie, ‘The Passion of the Moore’ will have to carry a warning about graphic violence.