Montgomery (Alabama), Nov. 13 (Reuters): Alabama’s chief justice was removed from office today for refusing to obey a federal order to move a Ten Commandments monument in a dispute that fuelled a national debate over the place of God in public life.
The nine members of Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary unanimously voted to remove Roy Moore, who was elected to a six-year term as the state’s top judge in 2000. The 2.3-tonne stone marker was moved from the rotunda of the state courthouse on August 27 and has been stored in a closet since. The US Supreme Court last week refused to hear appeals from Moore in his bid to restore the marker to public view.
Moore, who installed the stone marker in the state judicial building two years ago as a symbol of the Judeo-Christian foundation of US law, said he had “absolutely no regrets” for his defiance. “I have done what I was sworn to do,” Moore told supporters, some of them crying, outside the courthouse. “We have got to stop the hypocrisy in this country.”
Moore, whose defiance over the church-state separation issue made national headlines and drew wide support from some Christians, said he would confer with his lawyers and decide whether to appeal.
He also promised to make an announcement next week that “would alter the course of this country and the course of our state and nation.”
The ousted judge said he would look for a job. He has been mentioned as a possible candidate for other Alabama statewide offices. The Alabama court found that Moore violated judicial ethics and placed himself above the law in “willfully” disregarding a US ruling.