MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who refused to follow the court orders to take down the now defunct Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of his court, was removed from office, Nov. 13.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary released a 13-page decision, iterating what was already foreseen: Moore’s refusal to obey the court order in August warranted his removal.
"[T]here is no penalty short of removal from office that would resolve this issue," the unanimous ruling, written by William C. Thompson and signed by all nine judges, read. "Anything short of removal would only serve to set up another confrontation that would ultimately bring us back to where we are today."
The removal followed the initial complaint filed against Moore by the Judicial Inquiry Commission in August, who listed six violations that mandated penalties.
Judge Moore failed to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary, observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary might be preserved, avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety, respect and comply with the law, conduct himself in a manner promoting public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice so as to bring the judicial office into disrepute, the Commission wrote.
Despite the court’s decision, Moore seemed self-assured, showing no regrets for his past actions.
"I have absolutely no regrets. I have done what I was sworn to do," Moore said during a news conference following the ruling. Moore also added that he would be making "an announcement next week which could alter the course of this country and the course of our state and our nation."
Moore then said he sees a wide difference in the belief systems of the country.
"There is a basic philosophical difference in this country of what law is," he said. "Law is not an order of court, and we've got to get that straight. If we follow the rule of man and not the rule of law, we're disregarding everything we're sworn to uphold."
The Court of the Judiciary, however, disagreed, saying that Moore’s position as the chief judicial officer brought objective standards that were necessary higher than individual beliefs.
"Chief Justice Moore did not have the legal authority to decide whether the federal court order issued to him in his official capacity as the State's highest judicial officer should be obeyed; rather, he was constitutionally mandated to obey it," the court wrote.
"... Chief Justice Moore sought legal redress by appealing to the limit of judicial review; he was bound by, and had the duty to follow, the rulings of the federal courts."
Moore "is the chief judicial officer of this State and is held to a higher standard than a member of the general public,” the court continued.
"The general rule is that courts interpret preambles as statements of general purpose and intent and not as sources of authority for the government," the court wrote. "... In the event of conflict between the constitutions of Alabama and the United States, the Constitution of the United States must prevail."
Moore, who is now weighing his legal options, criticized what he viewed as hypocrisy within the nation’s judiciary.
"We've got to stop the hypocrisy in this country," he said. "We've got to stop courts that will open with 'God save the United States and this honorable court' and then say [we] can't acknowledge God. We've got to stop judges who put their hand on the Bible and say, 'So help me God,' and then go into court and ... deny the very Creator God upon which this nation and our laws are founded."
The nation must stand up to the actions of courts, Moore added. "Unless we do, the public acknowledgment of God will be taken from us," he said. "'In God We Trust' will be taken from our money and 'One Nation Under God' from our pledge."