Ala. Supreme Court Chief Justice Suspended for Rest of Term

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary voted unanimously to suspend Chief Justice Roy Moore without pay for the remainder of his term.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in 2003
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in 2003 Gary Tramontina/Getty Images

After telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding same-sex marriage, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended from the bench Friday. reports that this is the second time Moore has been removed from the bench for defiance of federal courts; the first was in 2003 when he refused to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

After an unanimous vote, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary issued the order Friday, saying, “For these violations, Chief Justice Moore is hereby suspended from office without pay for the remainder of his term. This suspension is effective immediately.”

The court found Moore guilty of all six charges of violation of canons of judicial ethics, which are as follows:

  • Canon 1, in that he failed to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
  • Canon 2, in that he failed to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities.
  • Canon 2A, in that he failed to respect and comply with the law and failed to conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
  • Canon 2B, in that he failed to avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.
  • Canon 3, in that he failed to perform the duties of his office impartially.
  • Canon 3A(6), in that he failed to abstain from public comment about a pending proceeding in his own court.

Moore was tried Wednesday by the COJ on charges filed by the Judicial Inquiry Commission, which said that Moore sought to have probate judges deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

Moore will be appealing the decision to the Alabama Supreme Court. In a statement, he said that the decision “reflects the corrupt nature of our political and legal system at the highest level.”

“This was a politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda,” Moore continued in his statement.

Because Moore was suspended and not removed, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will not appoint a replacement. Justice Lyn Stuart will continue as acting chief justice.