Dalila Ali Rajah
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Alabama's Antigay Judge Roy Moore Slapped With New Ethics Charges

Alabama's Antigay Judge Roy Moore Slapped With New Ethics Charges

Antigay Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is facing numerous ethics charges related to his vehement opposition to marriage equality, with more allegations added this week according to AL.com, a website for several Alabama newspapers.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed its initial complaint with the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama on Jan. 28, and has already updated the complaint once in early February.

A statement from the SPLC says that Moore was "encouraging lawlessness by attempting to assemble state officials and judges to oppose the federal court system." The SPLC's original complaint was issued after Moore advised probate judges that issuing same-sex marriage licenses would violate state law, despite a federal court ruling that legalized such marriages. Both supplemental complaints revolve around Moore's vehemently antigay public comments about same-sex marriage, raising concerns about his ability to uphold laws he personally disagrees with.

The first supplement to the initial ethics complaint, added in February, stemmed from a talk radio appearance. Judge Moore told talk show host Matt Murphy that he was uncertain what he would do if the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. "That's a very hard decision," the justice replied, insinuating he would ignore the court's ruling.

"Chief Justice Moore's suggestion that there might be any doubt about whether to follow such a decision demonstrates a total lack of understanding and appreciation for the fundamental workings of the judicial system at best, and complete contempt for the highest court in the land, at worst," the complaint read.

The newest complaint alleges that Moore has continued to comment on "pending or impending" cases in multiple interviews and public appearances, announcing he would recuse himself instead of hearing cases where he personally disagrees with court precedent, urging other judges to ignore the Supreme Court ruling, and associating with the anti-LGBT group Foundation for Moral Law. Moore led the organization until being elected to the Supreme Court; his wife Kayla runs the group now while Moore is listed as president emeritus.

"If Chief Justice Moore wants to make political speeches or be an activist in opposition to same-sex marriage, he is free to do so, but he cannot simultaneously hold his current position on the Alabama Supreme Court," SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement. "His blatant disregard for judicial ethics demonstrates once again that he is unfit for office."

Moore has been removed from office once before after the SPLC filed an ethics complaint in 2002, when the judge refused to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments he had erected at the state judicial building. Multiple federal courts found that the monument served as an endorsement of religion by the state, but Moore ignored the court rulings. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed him from office following the complaint. However, voters re-instated Moore to his seat as the state's top jurist in 2012.

Judge Moore is also facing another ethics complaint filed by the Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates, alleging that he "showed public support for domestic terrorism by speaking at an anti-abortion rally." The commission has not yet ruled on that complaint.

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