Looking for the dummies and crazies, we invariably find them in the same states — Idaho, Utah, and of course the likes of Mississippi and Alabama. The once and now again Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Stewart Moore is at it and as loony as ever.
Apparently unchasted at having been removed from office in 2003, he's doing pretty much the same. Back then, he had commissioned a Ten Commandments display at a court house and then refused to let it be removed when federal courts ruled it was unconstitutional. Now he's done the same with same-sex marriage.
He ordered judges not to issue licenses to gay couples, in defiance of federal court rulings.
[If you really can't believe his arrogance and stupidity, start with his Wikipedia article. It has about 50 footnotes and external links to let you check truth and knowledge.]]
This time though, in his late Sunday night ruling, Moore showed a glimmer of restraint. He ford not threaten direct punishment to any judges who do issue licenses. Instead, he orders them to obey Alabama one-man/one-woman law, despite the federal overrides, and writes that seeing they do so falls on the governor of the state.
To ensure the orderly administration of justice
within the State of Alabama, to alleviate a situation
adversely affecting the administration of justice within
the State, and to harmonize the administration of justice
between the Alabama judicial branch and the federal
courts in Alabama:
Effective immediately, no Probate Judge of the State
of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama
Probate Judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license
that is inconsistent with Article 1, Section 36.03, of
the Alabama Constitution or § 30-1-19, Ala. Code 1975.
Should any Probate Judge of this state fail to
follow the Constitution and statutes of Alabama as
stated, it would be the responsibility of the Chief
Executive Officer of the State of Alabama, Governor
Robert Bentley, in whom the Constitution vests "the
supreme executive power of this state," Art. V, § 113,
Ala. Const. 1901, to ensure the execution of the law.
"The Governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully
As has been his wont, he plays political cards. He's showing he will take a lowest-common-denominator position as he perceives it. He also shows he no respect for law or the legal process.
This has served him both poorly and well. He was removed from office for his previous shenanigans. Undeterred, he tried running for higher office. He failed in several attempts to become governor and once tried with no public interest in running for POTUS.
However, the people did re-elect him as head of the state's high court. That surely is proof we should judges for their experience, expertise and integrity, and not elect them.
We have the intertwined issues of anti-gay sentiment, anti-federalism and of course the rawer states rights ones. As in so many other states that passed one-man/one-woman laws or amendments, Alabama seems to enjoy the sentiment that outsiders can't tell them what to do.
While it's true that outsiders, even federal courts and Congress can't tell tell them what to think, what to do can be another matter.
Monday AM: MSNBC has been doing legwork here. It reports most probate judges will follow federal ruling, not Moore's caprice. Plus the anti-gay Liberty Counsel folk are stirring the pot, representing judges who follow Moore and claiming those judges don't have to follow federal rulings.