Nine years after a battle over a stone monument listing the Ten Commandments inside a state court building in Alabama, the state Supreme Court chief justice who was removed from office by a state judiciary panel is the leading candidate – to be the state Supreme Court chief justice.
Judge Roy Moore had installed the 5,280-pound stone monument as part of an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty over American life, and when he refused to haul it away as a federal judge wanted, a state judicial panel removed him from office.
But after a stunning upset victory over two better-funded competitors for the GOP nomination for the office, incumbent Chuck Malone and former state Attorney General Charlie Graddick, Moore now is leading in the statewide race in Alabama, where voters choose the chief justice.
According to a poll taken just days ago, Moore leads Democrat Harry Lyon by 21 points, 54 percent to 33 percent. The poll surveyed 600 Alabama voters.
He’s built that stunning support with endorsements that include one even from the Democratic Alabama AFL-CIO.
State President Al Henley told Real Clear Politics it’s the first time the union group has backed Moore, and Moore was the only Republican picked by the group this year.
Henley cited Moore’s record as a circuit judge in Gadsden and as a Supreme Court justice from 2001-2003 of treating the average person fairly in court.
But Moore beat out even the Democrat nominee, Harry Lyon, who had wanted the AFL-CIO endorsement.
In an interview, Moore told WND he will not make an issue of a Ten Commandments monument in the state’s judiciary building again, but that doesn’t mean he’s abandoning the principles they espouse.
“To restore the monument would be to deflect from the true issue, an acknowledgement of the sovereignty of God,” he told WND. “It would certainly confuse the public.”
But he said if elected he would be true to the foundational documents of the United States, its Constitution and the Alabama Constitution, which acknowledges God.
He said it would be a “significant statement” for voters to return him to office, “knowing what I stand for.”
He said the federal judge who ordered the Ten Commandments monument removed from state grounds during his original battle blasted Moore, saying the state was not allowed to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Judeo-Christian God and attribute to Him the foundation for the law.
But Moore noted that conflicted with case law from the U.S. Supreme Court, which “said religious liberty comes from the will of God.”
“Throughout my campaign I have told people I would not bring back a monument, because it would confuse the people about the issue. But I will acknowledge the sovereignty of God in everything I do.”
He said if elected, in office he would be a chief justice “for everyone. I want fairness and equity in the courts. I think that’s what most people want.”
And Moore said he’s taking nothing for granted, continuing to speak and travel, raising support for his effort.
He said the judiciary in the United States today is busy establishing rulings based on previous court precedents and statements, when judges should, instead, be going back to the federal Constitution and state constitutions that established America.
And some of the decisions that have been released, he said, are “ridiculous” in light of the opening statement in the U.S. Supreme Court of “God save the United States and this court.”
He told the Press-Register in Alabama that the election of the state’s Supreme Court chief justice will in many ways “determine the course of our future.”
“We’ve got to go back to the Constitution,” he said. “We’ve got hope in this country as long as we have God and as long as we have a Constitution.”
Since his removal from office in 2003, he has served with the Foundation for Moral Law and surprised political observers by taking a majority, 51 percent, of the primary vote in March against current Chief Justice Malone and Graddick.
He previously had launched two unsuccessful bids for the governor’s office in Alabama.
John L. Carroll, dean of Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, told Reuters he wasn’t aware of another case where a judge removed from office reclaimed the same elected position.
“It really boils down to backlash against the federal court order and his removal from office the first time,” said Carroll.
As WND also reported, Moore lit a fire in the hearts of tea partiers at the first national convention in Nashville – inspiring four impassioned standing ovations with his reading of a “bill of particulars” against President Obama.
He also told a cheering crowd, “We’re tired of liberal Republicans who don’t hold the principles of their party.”
Moore, 64, a periodic WND columnist, has condemned “senseless treaties” like the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and the Central America Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA. He said the nation’s borders have been opened to criminals and terrorists, the Constitution discarded, the federal government grown in size and scope “far beyond anything our founders ever imagined,” and the nation’s debt is soaring.
Columnist, author and action star Chuck Norris previously endorsed Moore’s campaign for governor.
“More than just an amazing legal mind, he is first a true patriot and passionate family man,” Norris wrote.
He said Moore is one of the “constitutionally abiding legal eagles who walk in the legacy of our Founding Fathers and who we need serving in every state across our union.”
Norris currently is wrapping up his work on the coming “Expendables 2.”
Moore grew up the son of a jackhammer operator. He bagged groceries for 85 cents an hour at Piggly Wiggly to support his family and later attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Moore commanded an Army military police company in Vietnam from 1969 to 1974.
He graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law and worked as a deputy district attorney for Etowah County from 1977 to 1982. After an unsuccessful bid for circuit judge in 1982, Moore reportedly worked on a ranch in Australia and became a kick boxer in Texas before returning to Alabama to practice law.
Former Gov. Guy Hunt appointed him circuit judge in 1992. In 2000, he was elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. In 2003, Chief Justice Moore was removed from his position for defying a federal judge’s order to move a Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building.