The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was removed from office for defying the Constitution and a federal court order is now one of 14 major candidates running for the Republican nomination for the presidency.
by Walter Brasch
Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary unanimously had ordered Roy S. Moore removed from office in November 2003 after he refused to remove from the judiciary building rotunda a 5,280 pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments; he had personally overseen the funding, carving, and placement.
The federal court ruled that placement of the monument, and Moore’s repeated statements that the monument represented God’s sovereignty over all matters judicial and moral, violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
With strong popular support, Moore said not only was the court’s ruling illegal, but that he would continue to defy it. The message sent to the voters was that it’s acceptable to disregard two centuries of legal history that gave the federal constitution supremacy over states, and to violate federal law if you disagree with it. For a citizen to do so carries penalties; for a judge to do so carries removal from office.
Reflecting upon the case, Moore said that even eight years after his removal from office, he “would still make the same decision.” The role of government, says Moore, “is to secure those rights that [a Christian] God has given us.” Although he says he supports religious diversity, the “source of our morality stems from our belief in a god, and a specific god.” However, in his Dec. 13, 2006, column for WorldNetDaily, Moore stated that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim, should be denied the right to hold office because “in the midst of a war with Islamic terrorists we should not place someone in a position of great power who shares their doctrine.”
Roy Moore says he is running for the presidency because “there’s a need for leadership in the country,” and neither President Obama nor the leaders of both parties in Congress are providing that leadership. “Petty politics,” he says, are taking precedence over the needs of the country. “We can’t get anything done,” he says, “because decisions are [made] not what’s good for the country, but what is good for the party.”
Moore identifies a weak economy as “the foremost problem today.” The nation “is going the wrong way,” he says. He acknowledges that much of the problem came under the Bush–Cheney Administration, “but was increased by Obama.” Although the Republicans propose cutting social programs rather than raising the debt ceiling, every Congressional leader, Democrat and Republican, voted to increase the debt ceiling during the past decade, with the highest increases under Republican presidents: Ronald Reagan (189%), George H.W. Bush (55%), and George W. Bush (86%). In Bill Clinton’s two terms. The debt ceiling was increased only 37 percent; Barack Obama is asking for a 35 percent increase.
Moore, a “states’ rights advocate,” shares the views of most conservative candidates for the Presidency. Among those views are:
● the federal income tax should be abolished.
● Abortion, for any reason, should not have federal funds because not only does abortion “contradict the right to life contained in the organic law of our country,” it violates the 14th Amendment.
● People should “have the right to choose their own employment,” instead of having to join unions. Therefore, says Moore, all states should have “right-to-work” laws. If Moore’s vision is enacted, these laws would effectively cripple unions from representing the workers.
● Same sex marriage, says Moore, violates the will of God. In one case, as chief justice, he argued that homosexual behavior is “a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.”
However, on a couple of issues, his views lean closer to that of liberals. He opposes the nation’s entry into war without Congressional authorization. Moore is a graduate of West Point, who became an MP company commander at the end of the Vietnam War, and then graduated from the University of Alabama law school. He opposes the U.S. intrusion into Libya on both military and legal grounds. “It’s very easy for a president to be sucked into global wars,” he says, “but it’s not our goal to go over there [Libya] and take out a leader just because we don’t like him.” Unlike many Republicans, he acknowledges that the Libyan attack, like the U.S. invasion of Iraq under the Bush–Cheney Administration, should have had Congressional approval under the War Powers Act of 1973.
Moore, who owns horses—he once spent a year as a cowboy in Australia working for a fundamentalist Christian—believes that the dwindling population of wild horses and burros in the Southwest, and all wild animals, should be protected. Both the Bush–Cheney and Obama administrations have failed to do so, often influenced by the cattle and meat industry.
Moore, near the bottom of the pack in the polls, probably won’t become the Republican nominee. But, unlike some conservative candidates, he doesn’t parade his religious beliefs to gain votes. He lives the life of his religious convictions, and isn’t afraid to make sure everyone knows what they are, especially when they provide the base for his political views.
Walter Brasch’s current book is Before the First Snow, a look at the nation’s counterculture and social problems, as seen through the eyes of a “flower child” and the reporter who covered her story for more than three decades.