Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended for the rest of his term, but will keep his job.
Moore got into legal trouble when he directed Alabama judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Obergefell marriage equality decision. He claimed that Alabama law trumped a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended Moore without pay for the rest of his term, which runs through 2018, but did not remove him from the court. During that period, he may not make any judicial rulings, according to Alabama’s WKRG, the CBS affiliate in Mobile.
Moore had been removed from office once before for defying a federal court that ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments statue from public grounds.
The Southern Poverty Law Center based in Montgomery, Ala. sent the following statement on the suspension of Moore:
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Court of the Judiciary today suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for the rest of his term in office. The Court ruled that Moore violated the canons of judicial ethics by ordering Alabama’s probate judges to defy a federal court injunction requiring them to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on a non-discriminatory basis. This is the second time in 13 years that Moore has been sanctioned as a result of ethics complaints filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The following is a statement by SPLC President Richard Cohen:
“The Court of the Judiciary has done the citizens of Alabama a great service by suspending Roy Moore from the bench. He disgraced his office and undermined the integrity of the judiciary by putting his personal religious beliefs above his sworn duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
“Moore was elected to be a judge, not a preacher. It’s something that he never seemed to understand. The people of Alabama who cherish the rule of law are not going to miss the Ayatollah of Alabama.”