MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore wants four sitting Supreme Court justices — as well as three other former justices — to recuse themselves as he appeals his suspension from the bench over a gay marriage order.
A lawyer for Moore said the chief justice deserved "a fair and objective panel" to hear his appeal as he seeks to regain his position on the Alabama Supreme Court.
In a motion filed Monday, Moore asked for the removal of three current justices, and three temporary judges, who heard an earlier petition related to his ethics case. Moore's attorney said the judges "have disqualified themselves by their biased and unconscionable actions in that case not only from participating in this case but also from playing any role in selecting a substitute court."
The filing did not name the justices since Moore's earlier challenge was filed under seal and it is not public knowledge which justices ruled on it. Court documents indicate the petition challenged various actions of the Judicial Inquiry Commission in bringing charges of ethics violations against him, charges that led to his eventual suspension from office.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary last month suspended Moore from the bench for the remainder of his term after ruling that Moore had urged probate judges to defy clear law that gays and lesbians can marry. Moore in January told judges that a state order to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples had not been lifted and remained in "full force and effect."
"Beyond question, at the time he issued the January 6, 2016, order, Chief Justice Roy Moore knew about Obergefell and its clear holding that the United States Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry," the court wrote in the unanimous decision.
The judiciary court ruled that Moore defied law already clearly settled by the high court's Obergefell vs. Hodges ruling when he told Alabama's probate judges six months later that they were still bound by a 2015 state court order to deny marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.
Moore is appealing the decision to the Alabama Supreme Court.
Moore is also seeking the recusal of Justice Greg Shaw who had criticized Moore's January order to probate judges and his legal view. Shaw in March wrote that it was "silly" to argue that the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage did not apply to Alabama because the case did not originate in Alabama.
Moore asked for replacement justices to hear his appeal that will be drawn from a random pool.
"The Chief Justice wants to have a fair and objective panel of nine judges to review his appeal. Anyone who has sat on any prior proceedings involving this case and anyone who has a conflict of interest should recuse and not preside over this appeal. Chief Justice Moore is asking for a fair and transparent process," Moore's attorney, Mat Staver, said.