Ousted Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore is focused on trying to get his job back but will not rule out a third-party run for the presidency that could threaten President Bush’s re-election chances.
Roy Moore (Photo: WSFA.com)
At a recent speaking engagement, the man who became famous for his defense of a Ten Commandments monument was asked during a question-and-answer session whether he would run for president, reported Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund.
“Not right now,” Moore said, according to Fund, who noted Moore’s friends say he is undecided about whether to run for president or to wait two years and seek Alabama’s governorship.
Jessica Atteberry, a spokeswoman for Moore, emphasized yesterday to WorldNetDaily Moore is focused on his appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court but indicated he would not rule out a candidacy for the country’s highest office.
“Anything is possible,” she told WND. “However, until the appeal process has been run through, he’ll make no decision for political office.”
Atteberry said Moore believes he has an obligation to the people who elected him to appeal the Alabama Supreme Court’s Nov. 13 decision that stripped him of his chief justice position for defiance of a federal judge’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument.
“He is fighting for his job back for the people of Alabama,” Atteberry said. “So he feels he needs to take every legal avenue possible to become chief justice again.”
Earlier this month, Moore asked the state’s high court to restore him to office, calling his expulsion “dangerous.”
In legal briefs, he argued the decision sets a “dangerous precedent” that requires judges to deny their oath of office by barring acknowledgement of God, which is stipulated in Alabama’s constitution.
A special court has been seated to hear Moore’s appeal. A decision is expected in the next month or so.
Fund commented that while third-party campaigns by social conservatives have fizzled in the past, Moore could make a difference in a close race.
He noted last Saturday Moore was a featured speaker at the Christian Coalition’s “Family and Freedom” rally in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported he was “treated like a rock star, signing autographs and getting thunderous standing ovations.”
One week prior to that event, Moore spoke at a dinner in Lancaster, Pa., sponsored by the Constitution Party, which has the third-largest number of registered voters in the U.S. The party’s presidential candidate, Howard Phillips, was on 41 state ballots in 2000, Fund noted.
Richard Winger, an authority on independent candidates, told Fund he believes Moore could rally enough support to sustain a presidential candidacy.
“If he can get on talk shows and stir up conservative voters he could easily get significantly more than the usual third-party vote totals,” said Winger, editor of Ballot Access News.
Winger points out the Constitution Party has 320,000 registered voters nationwide and guaranteed ballot access in large states such as California and Pennsylvania.
With its convention scheduled June 22, Moore would have enough time to exhaust his appeal before Alabama courts.
Fund notes reporters who want to see President Bush face a tight race this year will be particularly interested in covering him. That’s why Republican strategists are trying to talk Moore into campaigning this year for GOP candidates who agree with his stance.
“He can get a lot of attention this year for his themes,” a strategist told Fund. “The question is whether he does it in a way that will help conservatives or whether he tries to do it in a way that could make him the Ralph Nader spoiler of the right in 2004.”