Alabama’s Chief Justice, Roy Moore, is in the news again. A few weeks ago, a federal court in Mobile, AL ruled that that state’s ban on homosexual marriage was unconstitutional. Today, that ban is to be lifted, allowing for same-sex couples to obtain legal marriage status in the state.
Justice Moore has encouraged probate justices across the state to defy the federal court order, claiming it is unconstitutional. This harkens back to a scene played out on the national news twelve years ago.
On November 13, 2003, Justice Moore was removed from his position for refusing to obey a federal mandate to remove the 10 Commandments monument from the state courthouse. On Nov. 6, 2012, Moore won election, once again as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
It is unknown at this time how much cooperation Moore will receive from the justices in his state, and how many will risk defying the federal court order on constitutionality.
For a bit of background on the case that launch Justice Moore into the national spotlight, here is an essay I wrote in 2003, summarizing the 10 Commandments case, and it’s importance for jurisprudence and the rule of law in America.
The Rule of Law
In 2003, one of the most memorable judicial scenes in American history, Alabama’s chief justice, Roy Moore, lost his job and his appeal to keep a monument of the Ten Commandments in the Alabama state Supreme Court building.
The irony was thick in this case, and we must be certain that the profundity of what took place doesn’t escape us in all the political bantering surrounding the event. A nine-member Court of the Judiciary (known to the press as an “ethics” committee) issued its unanimous decision to remove Justice Moore from office. According to CNN, “The ethics panel said Moore put himself above the law by “willfully and publicly” flouting the order to remove the 2.6-ton monument from the state judicial building’s rotunda in August.” (Emphasis mine)
In an interview with CNN, Justice Moore said, “The issue is: ‘Can the state acknowledge God?'” he said. “If this state can’t acknowledge God, then other states can’t. … And eventually, the United States of America … will not be able to acknowledge the very source of our rights and liberties and the very source of our law.”
“When a court order departs from the law and tells you what you can think and who you can believe in,” he said, the judge issuing that order is “telling you to violate your oath. And he can’t do that. Judges simply don’t have that power.”
Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, a Republican who had been nominated for a federal judgeship, filed “ethics” charges against Moore to prosecute him after he ignored the court order to move the monument, saying: “The rule of law means that no person, including the chief justice of Alabama, is above the law,” he said. (Emphasis mine)
Pryor, who himself claims to be a Christian, is a man who stood beside Justice Moore years ago, defending his position, but as soon as a court order was enacted against Moore, he turned on his former ally and became his prosecutor. These two men represent the disparity between belief systems within the modern church. Many churchgoers agreed with Moore until the court order was given to remove the monument. They then felt that Moore should have complied because a court order was given. They believe that a court order is equal to the Law. Having a basic understanding that Christians are to obey the civil magistrate, they felt that Moore was being un-Christian in refusing to obey the order. Moore, on the other hand, has a completely different view. Justice Moore has stated, “I believe you should obey higher courts except when that higher court is not going by the law.”
What does Moore mean by this? Samuel Rutherford wrote a monumental thesis on this issue when he questioned what our basis for law should be. As he saw it, we have two choices: Lex, Rex (Law is King) or Rex Lex (The King is Law). There is either a transcendent law that supersedes all times, all cultures, and all places, and dictates a universal moral policy to everyone, or “might makes right.” Morality is determined by what the majority of people in a society, or the elite in control, think it should be. Rex Lex is an unspeakably dangerous position that has resulted in mass bloodshed throughout the ages, most notably in recent memory by tyrants like Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein.
What’s the Big Deal About A Hunk of Rock?
I think it is important to allow Justice Moore to clarify, in his own words, why he pursued this case. Many Christians have felt that the case was ridiculous because, in their view, in was just about a hunk of rock in Alabama. They believe that we have God’s law written on our hearts, and we don’t need to impose our religious beliefs on other people. If they take away the monument, we can still obey the Ten Commandments, so what’s the big deal?
Then there were those, on the opposite end, who thought that the monument must stay because it is such a wonderful testimony and that people might be converted merely by walking through a courthouse and reading the Ten Commandments. That is why some feel that the best approach is to have such a monument, among other historical writings, so it doesn’t stand out so much and won’t be rejected by the courts.
Some thought that the hunk of rock itself, was what was really at stake, like the idiot at one of the rallies who was elevated by national press for screaming, “Get your hands off my God!” as the monument was being moved. What a shame that misguided person failed to read the second commandment listed on that monument that says we shouldn’t bow down and worship anything made with our own hands.
Moore’s Statements To The Press
CHIEF JUSTICE MOORE: “I think it is very important to understand what this issue is about. First, what it is not about is the Ten Commandments. I have in my hand the order of Judge Thompson and would like to quote to you what Judge Thompson said about the Ten Commandments. He said, ‘But in announcing this holding today, the Court believes it is important to clarify at the outset that the Court does not hold that it is improper in all instances to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings, nor does the Court hold that the Ten Commandments are not important, if not one of the most important sources from American law.’ Judge Thompson specifically outlined the issue in closing arguments in the trial when he said, ‘Can the State acknowledge God?’ He then found that by my actions I acknowledged the God of the Holy Scriptures as the foundation of our law and the source of the Ten Commandments that it was unconstitutional. The Court simply said that to recognize God, who God is, is unconstitutional. But herein lies the problem. You see, the entire judicial system of the State of Alabama is established in the Alabama Constitution invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God.”
“Judge Thompson seeks to force his will on the people of this state afflicting the judicial system and threatening to drain huge amounts of public funds from the State of Alabama. The object is to take away our right as a state to acknowledge God…The acknowledgment of Almighty God is the basis for our justice system. It is the source of our law. It is the foundation of our country.”
“That organic law according to the United States Code (The Declaration of Independence) annotated, recognizes the Supreme Judge of the world immediately after we were first called the United States of America. You see, separation of church and state never was meant to separate God from our government; it was never meant to separate God from our law. Even the First Amendment, whose very purpose is to allow us the freedom to worship Almighty God, but today that freedom is being taken from us by federal courts who misuse the First Amendment as a sword to take away our rights instead of a shield to preserve them for us.
As Chief Justice of the State of Alabama, it is my duty to administer the justice system of this state, not to destroy it. I have no intention of removing the monument of the Ten Commandments and the moral foundation of our law. To do so would in effect be a disestablishment of the justice system of this state. This I cannot and will not do. But in a larger sense, ladies and gentlemen, the question is not whether I will remove the monument, it is not a question of whether I will disobey or obey a court order. The real question is whether or not I will deny the God who created us and endowed us with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“I have maintained the ‘rule of law.’ I have been true to the oath of my office. I can do no more and I will do no less. So help me God.”
In a different message to the press:
“The people of this state elected me as Chief Justice to uphold our Constitution, which establishes our justice system on the ‘invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God.’ To do my duty, I must acknowledge God. That is what this case is about. Judge Myron Thompson said clearly, in closing argument, ‘Can the State acknowledge God?’ He said that the acknowledgment of the Judeo-Christian God crosses the line between the permissible and the impermissible, and that the acknowledgment of God violates the Constitution of the United States. Not only does Judge Thompson put himself above the law, but above God as well. I have been ordered to do something I cannot do, and that is, violate my conscience.
I hear others talk of a ‘rule of law.’ If the ‘rule of law’ means to do everything a judge tells you to do, we would still have slavery in this country. If the ‘rule of law’ means to do everything a judge tells you to do, the Declaration of Independence would be a meaningless document. This so-called ‘rule of law’ causes those who strongly oppose Roe versus Wade because it is the taking of human life and the slaughter of millions of innocent babies, to condemn those innocent babies to death because they do not understand that the true organic law, the Declaration of Independence, states, ‘We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’
The ‘rule of law’ in 1858 declared that slaves were property simply because a judge said so. Doctor Martin Luther King is proof enough that great men do follow the rule of law and not the rule of man. I say enough is enough. We must ‘dare to defend our rights,’ which is the motto of this great state. No judge or man can dictate in whom we can believe and in whom we trust…I was dismayed and angry to learn that while I was away someone had placed a shroud around the Ten Commandments. Before the Federal District Court here in Montgomery sits a bust of the statue of the Greek Goddess Themis.
You won’t find federal authorities scurrying around to conceal that bust behind a screen. And neither will we hide the truth any longer. I will not violate my oath. I cannot forsake my conscience. I will not neglect my duty. And I will never, never deny the God upon whom our laws and our country depend.”
What is really at stake here is the freedom of every citizen in American to be able to publicly acknowledge God, as being Lord over all. Often courts have allowed public forums to keep their monuments of the Ten Commandments, as long as they are placed there exclusively as a historical document. If they are there to impose a standard of conduct on all people, then they must go.
Dr. Francis Schaeffer, in his book, How Shall We Then Live, made the assertion that the Roman Empire killed Christians not because they acknowledged Jesus publicly. They were martyred because; “They worshiped Him as the only God…No totalitarian state can tolerate those who have an absolute by which to judge that state and its actions. The Christians had that absolute in God’s revelation. Because the Christians had an absolute, universal standard by which to judge, not only personal morals, but the state, they were counted as enemies of totalitarian Rome and were thrown to the beasts.”
Hypocrisy on the Part of the Justice System
A rather comically ironic scene emerged during the beginning of the trial of Justice Moore. Moore’s attorney decided to press the issue of public acknowledgement of God, undoubtedly to show the hypocrisy of the court’s view on the matter:
BUTTS: Judge Thompson? Judge Thompson, Terry Butts here for Chief Justice Moore.
MR. THOMPSON: Yes.
MR. BUTTS: Would it be appropriate for you to lead us in a word of prayer, sir?
MR. THOMPSON: Absolutely.
MR. BUTTS: Thank you, sir.
HON. THOMPSON: Please bow our heads, please. I call upon the Lord to bless this Court proceeding, bless all those who are involved and keep us in your ways. Amen.
HON. THOMPSON: Objection is noted. Please proceed with calling the first witness.
HON. JONES: Your Honor, we would call Chief Justice Roy Moore.
HON. THOMPSON: Chief Justice Moore. Mr. Harris, would you swear the witness.
MR. HARRIS: Chief Justice, if you will raise your right hand, please, sir. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give in this cause will be the truth so help you God.
CHIEF JUSTICE MOORE: I do.
Cross Examination by MR. PRYOR:
MOORE: “I am upholding my oath. I have nothing to apologize for. I’m upholding the First Amendment. I am upholding the Constitution of Alabama, and we were too ashamed to acknowledge God. When we let a federal judge come in and tell us — call it the “rule of law,” that we can’t acknowledge God as the Justice System says we must, as the Constitution says we must, then we have got a problem. I did what I did all the way through, not from what you read in the papers, not from what you imagine about politics or religion or forcing my beliefs on somebody else. I did what I did because I upheld my oath, and that’s what I did. So, I have no apologies for it. I would do it again. I didn’t say I would defy the court order. I said I wouldn’t move the monument, and I didn’t move the monument, which you can take that as you will. But, you know, I think you have to have respect for the Court, but I also have respect enough for the Court to tell them when they have no jurisdiction in this matter .”
Q: — Mr. Chief Justice? (Y)our understanding is that the Federal Court ordered — ordered that you could not acknowledge God; isn’t that right?
Q: And if you resume your duties as Chief Justice after this proceeding, you will continue to acknowledge God as you have testified that you would today –
A: That’s right.
Q: — no matter what any other official says?
A: Absolutely. Without — let me clarify that. Without an acknowledgment of God, I cannot do my duties. I must acknowledge God. It says so in the Constitution of Alabama. It says so in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It says so in everything I have read. So –
Q: The only point I am trying to clarify, Mr. Chief Justice, is not why, but only that, in fact, if you do resume your duties as Chief Justice, you will continue to do that without regard to what any other official says; isn’t that right?
A: Well, I’ll do the same thing this Court did with starting of prayer; that’s an acknowledgment of God. Now, we did the same say thing that justices do when they place their hand on the Bible and say, “So help me God.” It’s an acknowledgment of God. The Alabama Supreme Court opens with, “God save the State and this Honorable Court.” It’s an acknowledgment of God. In my opinions, which I have written many opinions, acknowledging God is the source — a moral source of our law. I think you must.
Q: You bring up opinions. Sometimes you’ve written dissenting opinions, haven’t you?
Q: And sometimes you’ve been the only member of the Supreme Court of Alabama to write a dissenting opinion; isn’t that right?
A: Absolutely. Many times. There is only one dissenting in all the courts. That’s a — and many times one judge will dissent and others not.
Q: And if you write a dissenting opinion and the other eight associate justices have another opinion, when a case returns to the Circuit Court, which opinion is the Circuit judge supposed to follow?
A: With the majority.
Q: Thank you.
PRYOR: That’s all of my questions.
This scene reminds me very definitely of the scenario with the three young men in Babylon who were being called to bow down when they heard the music playing. (Daniel 3)
It seems to me that the final questioning in this sequence is typical of the mindset of modern culture, and modern politics and jurisprudence. Why rock the boat? Why stand out and make a big deal about anything? Shouldn’t you be a good-ole-boy and stick with the majority opinion? This is absolutely converse to Justice Moore’s position that insists that there is a higher moral law that transcends the opinions of mere mortals.
Many Christians felt that he should have backed down and made concessions to keep his job, to try to keep the monument in place at all costs, to not make such a big deal. I guess the question I have is at what point will we stand for something we believe in? At what point will we say, “This far, and no farther.”
One journalist made the comment that it is great for Moore to have a private faith. He can believe whatever he wants, however, if he wants to promote his faith in the workplace, since he works for the government, he should resign his job and protest as a private citizen. This of course, means that we must have a privatization of our faith; a compartmentalization that is merely internal, in our hearts, but never imposes itself on anyone else. It is anathema in our culture to tell someone that they have violated God’s law and are going to give an account to the Judge of all the earth. (Rom. 14:11-12 & 1 Pet 4:5)
FINAL REMARKS DURING THE TRIAL:
HON. VOWELL: If you return, what, sir, would you do with the monument?
CHIEF JUSTICE MOORE: Well, I certainly wouldn’t leave it in the closet out of the view of the public. I certainly wouldn’t — wouldn’t hide the Word of God when it’s an acknowledgment of God. Exactly what I would do with it I haven’t decided.
HARRIS: It is clear that when the case came back to the Middle District in August of this year and the injunction was entered that at that point Chief Justice began — that Chief Justice Moore began to violate the Canons of Judicial Ethics. You have only to look at this statement of August 14 of this year. And I am reading from page four, “As Chief Justice of the State of Alabama, it is my duty to administer the justice system of our state, not to destroy it. I have no intention of removing the monument of the Ten Commandments and the moral foundation of our law. To do so would, in effect, result in the disestablishment of our system of justice in this state. This I cannot and will not do.” This is the statement — the typed statement that he issued on August 14th. You saw the taped statement — the tape of the statement that he gave in which he said the same thing. So, on August 14th of this year, Chief Justice Moore publicly, vehemently stated that he would — he had no intention whatsoever of obeying a court order, a court order entered in a case where he had been a litigant, had had the opportunity to raise each and every claim that he wanted to raise, where he was — his case was considered, not just by one judge in the Middle District, but by three judges of the Eleventh Circuit, and then the United States Supreme Court decided they did not think the case was worthy of consideration. On August 14th, he made a public statement that he would not follow the law.
GIBBS: Chief Justice Moore’s actions do not occur in a vacuum. Chief Justice Moore’s actions in refusing to comply with the law do set an example. They do have an effect on the public. His – His defiance, his refusal to follow the Court order in this case, was very public. And that public refusal to follow the Court order undercuts the entire working of the judicial system. It undercuts the ability of the courts to do business. If the Court’s order is — is not an obligation, but a matter of choice — I appeared in front of a judge once, and I had the — lacked the wisdom to, at some point, take issue with one of his rulings after he had ruled, and he informed me rather quickly that, you know, Mr. Gibbs, it’s a ruling, not a negotiation. Now, this is an order, not a negotiation.
A Court issues an order to a litigant, that litigant must do as told, unless he can obtain relief by appeal; and that’s what Chief Justice Moore tried to do in this case. He was unsuccessful. But a losing ligament must obey an order of the Court. When you have as an example the Chief Justice of the judicial system — the head of the judicial system who is not obliged to follow a court order but can choose, it’s optional whether to obey a Court order or not, then what message does that send to the public, to other litigants, to people who rely on the judicial system for relief? Well, the message it sends is, well, if you don’t like the Court order, you don’t have to follow it. Now, that absolutely undercuts the integrity and independence of the judiciary. Chief Justice Moore’s actions in this case undercut the ability of the judicial system to do its work by issuing orders and expecting those orders to be followed, not — by the losing litigant. If that conduct – if conduct that says that an order is an option, it’s not an order, it’s not binding, is the rule, then it would have — it will have disastrous effects on the judicial system as a whole. And it is that, the failure to comply with the law as is required by the Canons, and the devastating effect of this example from the highest official — the highest official in the judicial system, it is that example that violates – that shows the violation of these other Canons.
It seems that absolute compliance, without question to any and all court orders, even if they are asking us to promise not to acknowledge God publicly, is the goal of the State. This is frightening.
Please read the closing defense statements made by Moore’s legal team. There are important lessons for us to learn in what they share with the courts and with us.
BUTTS (Justice Moore’s Defense Attorney) Closing Statements:
“Chief Justice Moore’s defense is quite simple: (1) the order of Myron Thompson was unlawful, because it placed Chief Justice Moore in a position of violating his oath, or audibly risk being held in contempt of court; (2) Chief Justice Moore’s oath under the Constitution requires him to acknowledge God as the moral foundation of our law. Adherence to his oath placed him at odds with the injunction of Federal Judge Myron Thompson. Justice Moore’s oath is to the Constitution, not to any one man. To the prosecutions’ way of thinking, a federal judge has issued a lawful order to remove a display of the Ten Commandments because it violates the establishment of religion clause of the Constitution. By the prosecutions’ thinking, since a federal judge issued an order, then it must be a lawful order to remove the monument display. The problem with the prosecutions’ thinking and those that agree with him, is simply that they have entered into and share the belief that the opinion of judges about the meaning of the Constitution and not the Constitution itself is the law of the land. As a result, if you believe that way, then the prosecution believes that one’s oath of office is an allegiance to the judiciary, rather than to the Constitution. This subjective interpretation of oaths by the prosecution changes the oath from one of allegiance to the law to an oath of allegiance to an office holder, in this case, a federal judge. Roy Moore took an oath that, quote, “I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alabama so long as I continue to be a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully and honestly discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter, to the best of
my ability, so help me God.”
What makes this so striking and instructive is that the prosecution has been quoted as saying that the Ten Commandments is the cornerstone of American law. The key to understanding the prosecution’s stance is they believe that courts make laws and, by extension, that the official’s oath of office is one of allegiance to the judiciary and not to the Constitution itself.
The basis of the six charges against the Chief Justice is not that he violated the First or Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution or of any law in active pursuant thereto, but rather that he failed to comply with an existing and binding court order directed at him. All six charges are basically the same. What is important to keep in mind is that the essence of the charge is a violation of a court order. The charge is “failure to comply with the court order.” The mistake that has been made here is simply that the Judicial Inquiry Commission has equated a court order with law. Failure to comply with an order is illegal only if the order itself is legal, just as conviction for violating a law is valid only if that law is valid.
Every 18-year-old soldier, sailor, airman and Marine, who has ever worn a uniform, understands (Editor’s comment: I think he means should understand) the difference between a lawful and an unlawful order. He or she knows that they may not be convicted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for failure to obey an unlawful order. The difference between the Attorney General and the Chief Justice does not appear to be in their understanding of the First Amendment. It appears to be, primarily, a difference in their view of the law-making power of courts and the meaning of the oath. Chief Justice Moore’s position is that he has sworn an oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Alabama. In partially fulfilling his duty, the Chief Justice placed a monument memorializing the moral foundation of American law in the rotunda of the judicial – Alabama Judicial Building. Additionally, several provisions of the Alabama Constitution acknowledged the law of God as the foundation of law in Alabama.
The Constitution begins with these words in the Preamble, “In order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity, invoking the favor of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution: All men are equally free and independent. They are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, so help me God.”
By Constitutional provision and statute, the Chief Justice is the head of the judicial system in Alabama. It is his duty to make sure that judicial personnel have a proper understanding of the law, and that they administer justice properly. The Canons of Judicial Ethics, under which the Chief Justice is being prosecuted, placed additional duties on all judges to properly administer the law. For example, all judges are supposed to participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct. Judges are encouraged to speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other activities concerning the law of the legal system and the administration of justice. The purpose of ethical conduct is not simply to ensure that justice will be done in individual cases, but that the public will be assured of what they have a right to expect.
In short, the posting of the Ten Commandments provides the standards of personal conduct for judges and court personnel, the basis for law, and the assurance to the public of the integrity of the system and the rule of law. Thus, the Chief Justice has a duty to expound the law, as does every lawyer in the State of Alabama.
The foundation of the civil law is a — is that standard of justice which is summarized in the Ten Commandments. That foundation is expressly recognized in the Alabama Constitution. When a federal court tells a chief justice that he may not perform his duties as required by law, it is the Federal District Court judge who is violating the law, not the Chief Justice.
It’s ironic that the very conditions that Chief Justice Moore addressed with the monument — ignorance and disdain for the moral foundation of our laws, oaths and national creed — are the very conditions that have led to the charges against him. How ironic. Chief Justice Moore is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is a veteran of the war in Vietnam. He understands the difference between a lawful order and an unlawful order. He knows why it was unlawful during the Vietnam War for Lieutenant Rusty Calley to shoot unarmed women and children, even if he was so ordered by his superiors. He understands the nature of his oath of office. It is an oath sworn before God and man to the Constitution. Failure to acknowledge God actually undermines the very Canons upon which Chief Justice Moore is being tried.
The Canons of Judicial Ethics — please note, the primary purposes of the Canons is to protect the public rather than to discipline an individual judge. Propriety is often in the eye of the beholder. A given individual will find conduct to be within or beyond the bounds of propriety to the extent that the person comports with that individual’s own highly subjective views of propriety. The appearance of impropriety standards should be freely applied. Indeed, lack of specificity as to what conduct makes a judge vulnerable to a charge of appearance of impropriety raises serious due process concerns. To allow disciplinary proceedings to evaluate judicial decisions could force judges into ill-defined and standardless lines of propriety and impropriety. Holding such a sword over a judge’s head would have a tendency to chill his independence. A judge would have to be as concerned with what is proper in the eyes of the judicial – disciplinary commission as with what is the just decision.
The prosecution talks about the Chief Justice being unrepentant. You can only be unrepentant to God, not to man. The Judicial Inquiry Commission takes the position that there is no statute of limitations on unethical conduct for judges. If you have ever received a speeding ticket or stopped for DUI or if you, as a judge, ever stepped on an attorney’s private airplane for a golf trip to Augusta or to a Super Bowl game or made a trip anywhere and then sat on that attorney’s case, you could be charged with an ethics complaint as early as tomorrow. So, remember, as you judge Roy Moore today, that tomorrow you may yourself be judged.
Let me explain in concluding who Senator James W. Grimes of Iowa is. Senator Grimes was one of the Senators that voted against the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Right before his death, he wrote these words, “I shall ever thank God that in that troubled hour of trial, when many privately confessed that they had sacrificed their judgment and their conscious at the behest of party newspapers and party hate, I had the courage to be true to my oath and to my conscience. Perhaps I did wrong not to commit perjury by order of a party, but I cannot see it that way. I became a judge acting on my own responsibility and accountability only to my own conscience and my Maker, and no power could force me to decide on such a case contrary to my convictions whether that party was composed of my friends or my enemies.”
And so to the Court of the Judiciary, we have done all we know that we can do to impress upon you that the Chief Justice, being true to his oath, has not committed any ethical violations. As Mr. Jones pointed out to you, the judges that have been tried by this panel, from judges charged with sexual misconduct to only receive six months in suspension, cannot be compared with the Chief Justice who has done nothing morally wrong. He has done nothing legally wrong. He obeyed his oath. He was true to his God and to his oath of office. Please be careful how we judge Roy Moore today. As we turn Chief Justice Roy over to this panel’s judgment, remember the words of Harper Lee in To Kill A Mockingbird, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
For the respect of all Alabama citizens, for the respect of this country, for the respect of God and all His righteous, find Chief Justice Roy Moore not guilty and restore him to the people of Alabama as Chief Justice. Thank you.”
Ruling by HON. THOMAS:
“In defying that Court’s order, the Chief Justice placed himself above the law. To quote the Supreme Court of the United States, “No man in this country is so high that he is above the law. All the officers of the government from the highest to the lowest are creatures of the law and are bound to obey it.”
“This Court finds by unanimous decision and by clear and convincing evidence that Roy S. Moore, in willfully and publicly defying the valid Court order from the federal court violated Canons 1, 2, 2A and 2B of the Canons of Judicial Ethics as indicated in the complaint of the Judicial Inquiry Commission. During the trial of this matter, Chief Justice maintained his defiance testifying that he stood by an earlier statement given to him — given by him to the Judicial Inquiry Commission in which he stated in part, ‘I did what I did because I upheld my oath and that’s what I did. So I have no apologies for it. I would do it again.’
“The Chief Justice showed no signs of contrition for his actions Because of the magnitude of the decision with regard to sanctions for the Chief Justice’s violation of the Canons of Judicial Ethics was a difficult one for this Court to make. Finding no other viable alternatives, this Court hereby orders that Roy S. Moore be removed from his position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama.”
This Court is now adjourned. (The hearing concluded at 11:22 a.m.)
In the court’s ruling, they clearly state their belief that a court order, in and of itself, is law. Instead of viewing itself in subservience to the higher law of God, the court believes it is the source of the law, and everything in all creation must cower under the rulings of the court. Isn’t it odd that they don’t believe, as Justice Moore does, that they themselves should have been in obedience to the law (of God, and the Constitution of the state of Alabama, for that matter, that mandates that Supreme Court justices MUST publicly acknowledge God).
Francis Schaeffer has stated in his book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, that there are only two forces that can restrain a civilization from plummeting into the abyss of pleasure. The first is the gospel of Jesus Christ, faithfully proclaimed by the true church. If the church abdicates its position of authority and fails to be a restraining influence in society, then it leaves the only other means: The crushing rule of a totalitarian regime. Schaeffer insisted, “We must have confrontation. Loving confrontation, but confrontation nonetheless.” The true church must confront the sinful world. If it does not, History assures us that tyrants will rule us.
Just as the Episcopalian Church in the United States was declaring that homosexuals could be ordained “ministers of the gospel,” and thereby abdicating its position to confront sin, the U.S. Supreme Court in June of 2003 ruled on a Texas case that seeks to legitimize homosexual unions. The court’s decision reversed course from a ruling 17 years ago that states could punish homosexuals for what such laws historically called deviant behavior.
In November of 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the state cannot deny homosexual couples a legal marriage, thus furthering the advancement of the homosexual agenda.
Does the fact that a court has ruled in favor of homosexuality make it an unquestionable right of the citizens? Do we ever have the right to do what is wrong? Is there an objective difference between right and wrong, or is right and wrong merely what a court tells us. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that it is right for mothers to have their own unborn children put to death. Does that make it right? Should we agree that this is acceptable?
Canadian and British courts are battling over the right of parents to discipline their children. What if our Supreme Court makes child discipline illegal? Will it then suddenly become wrong to discipline your child? Will it be a law that we should obey, simply because a court has given an order? What if a court determines that you cannot continue to teach your children at home?
Increasingly, workers are being threatened by their employers not to share their faith on the job site. The Christian Law Association even represented a youth group who was told that they couldn’t post a notice for a “free car wash” on a public library bulletin board because of a supposed, “Wall of separation of church and state.” There is a time to stand for what is right. Now is the time to publicly acknowledge our faith, in every forum, public or private. If Schaeffer is right, and I believe he is, now is the time to confront. If we don’t do it now, we soon won’t be able to.