Roy Moore is finally gone for good as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, but the intensely anti-LGBT jurist is now considering a run for U.S. Senate.
A special court of retired judges today affirmed Moore’s removal as chief justice, reports AL.com, a website for several Alabama newspapers. Moore had appealed the Alabama Court of the Judiciary’s September decision to suspend him for the remainder of his term after finding him guilty of ethics violations related to his efforts to block marriage equality in the state. His term ends in 2019, when Moore, now 69, will be too old to run for election to the court again. No justice who is 70 or older may be elected or appointed to the Alabama Supreme Court, according to state law.
Moore, a Republican who has based his career on opposition to LGBT equality and other far-right positions, was defiant after today’s decision came down, AL.com reports. “This case was a politically motivated effort by the Judicial Inquiry Commission and certain homosexual and transgendered groups to remove me from office because of my steadfast opposition to same-sex marriage,” he read from a prepared statement in a press conference at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery.
He also said, “I have done my duty under the laws of this state to stand for the undeniable truth that God ordained marriage as the union of one and one woman.”
The Judicial Inquiry Commission had brought the ethics charges against Moore in response to a complaint from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a progressive group based in Montgomery. Moore had tried to block same-sex marriages in Alabama several times; as late as January 2016, he directed the state’s probate judges, who are in charge of marriage licenses, to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.
SPLC president Richard Cohen praised today’s decision in the following statement: “Roy Moore’s violation of the Canons of Judicial Ethics was egregious. He got what he deserved. We’ll all be better off without the Ayatollah of Alabama as our chief justice.”
The Court of the Judiciary discharged Moore as chief justice once before — in 2003, for his refusal to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building. Courts found the monument’s presence to be an unconstitutional establishment of religion. But voters returned Moore to the office in 2012.
Moore’s political career may still not be over. He is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions to become U.S. attorney general. Former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was appointed to replace Sessions temporarily, and a special election for the seat will be held December 12. Moore said he will make a decision next week, AL.com reports. He also has been mentioned as a potential candidate for Alabama governor in 2018. Robert Bentley resigned as governor last week after pleading guilty to misuse of campaign contributions, and amid allegations of an extramarital affair with a political adviser. Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey became acting governor.
Among Moore’s “greatest hits”: He has said marriage equality will “literally cause the destruction of our country or lead to the destruction of our country over the long run”; that transgender people have a mental disorder; and that actions against opponents of marriage equality are similar to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.