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The Shameful Suspension of Chief Justice Roy Moore

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

A good man has been suspended. Again. Ultimately he’s a victim of judicial activism---of judges making things up from the bench and saying it’s what our Constitution requires.

The so-called “Ten Commandments judge,” Roy Moore won election as the chief justice of Alabama for the second time in 2012. Here’s a timeline of his suspension:

  • November 7, 2006. 81 percent of Alabama voters vote on a state constitutional amendment that marriage in that state is one man, one woman.
  • January 11, 2013. Roy S. Moore is sworn in again as Chief Justice.
  • February 3, 2015. Chief Justice Moore wrote a memo to the Alabama Probate Judges, stating, “the rulings in the marriage cases do not require you to issue marriage licenses that are illegal under Alabama law.”
  • March 3, 2015. By a 6-1 decision (Chief Justice Moore not participating), the Alabama Supreme Court ruled the state’s constitutional amendment was valid, and no marriage licenses were to be issued for same-sex couples in what is known as the Alabama Policy Institute (API) decision.
  • June 26, 2015. By a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.
  • January 6, 2016. Chief Justice Moore wrote a memo to probate judges, referring to the API decision, stating: “Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.” Retired law professor John Eidsmoe comments: “Note that Chief Justice Moore did not tell the probate judges what to do. He simply noted that the API ruling was still in effect.”
  • May 6, 2016. The Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama issued a complaint against the Chief Justice for the January 6 memo.
  • September 30, 2016. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary found him guilty. He was suspended without pay for the rest of his term and denied the ability to practice law or even seek another job to provide for his family!
  • April 19, 2017. His appeal against that court’s decision failed, affirming the suspension.
  • Roy Moore held a press conference (4/19/17), stating, “This was a politically motivated prosecution from the very beginning by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Judicial Inquiry Commission with certain transgender and homosexual groups to remove me from public office because of my stand on same-sex marriage….I’ve done my duty under the laws of this state to uphold the sanctity of marriage and the undeniable truth that God ordained marriage between one man and one woman. Mere human judges have no authority to say otherwise.”

    Through the years, I’ve interviewed Roy Moore and have heard him recite a poem (“A Sad But Holy God”) that he wrote (at least before 1998) based on "America the Beautiful"---underscoring our national need to return to God. He gave me permission to quote it for this column.

    Roy S. Moore writes:

    America the beautiful

    Or so you used to be

    Land of the Pilgrim’s pride

    I’m glad they’re not here to see

    Babies piled in dumpsters

    Abortion on demand

    O, sweet land of liberty

    Your house is on the sand.

    When your children wander aimlessly

    Poisoned by cocaine

    Choosing to indulge their lust

    When God has said, “abstain.”

    From sea to shining sea

    This nation has turned away

    From the teaching of God’s law

    And a need to always pray.

    So many worldly pastors

    Telling lies about our rock

    Saying that God is going broke

    So that they can fleece the flock.

    And we’ve kept God in our temples

    How foolish have we grown

    When all the earth is but His footstool

    And heaven is His throne.

    We’ve voted in governments

    That are rotten to the core

    Choosing godless judges

    Who’ve thrown reason out the door.

    Too soft to put a killer

    In a well-deserved tomb

    But brave enough to kill that child

    Before it leaves the womb.

    And you think that God’s not angry

    That this land’s a moral slum?

    (And) how much longer will it be

    Before His judgment comes?

    And how can we face our God

    From whom we cannot hide?

    What is left for us to do

    But to stem this evil tide?

    For if we who are His children

    Will humbly turn and pray

    If we seek His holy face

    And mend our evil way

    Then God will hear from heaven

    And will forgive us of our sin

    He’ll heal this sickly land

    And all that live within.

    But America the beautiful

    If you don’t, then you will see

    A sad but holy God

    Withdraw His hand from thee.

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