On trial: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

By Bob Unruh

roy moore

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore on Wednesday told the state’s Court of the Judiciary that his administrative order from January 2016, the focal point of a complaint raised by the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center, told probate judges a case involving them was still pending.

But the real issue is more about the SPLC’s antipathy toward conservative judges and others, a long-running series of attacks launched by the organization that only in recent months labeled Dr. Ben Carson, a onetime GOP presidential candidate and one of the most admired men in America, a “hater” for his views on marriage.

It also is the group that was tied to a domestic terror case in Washington in which an attacker intended mass murder of Family Research Council staff members.

And it’s also the group whose chief, Richard Cohen, who is paid more than $300,000 a year to run the nonprofit, was named in an Alabama Bar Association complaint for allegedly making “unethical statements” about his targets.

The case against Moore, in the state’s COJ and brought by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission, was triggered by allegations from the SPLC. The JIC then hired a former SPLC activist to participate in its prosecution of Moore.

It focused on Moore’s January 2016 order which told probate judges in the state a case involving them still was pending. It involved a case concerning same-sex “marriage,” which had been launched before the U.S. Supreme Court’s creation of same-sex “marriage.”

Get the Whistleblower Magazine’s revelations about the SPLC, in its March 2015 edition of “The Hate Racket,” the complete story of how one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis – and rakes in millions doing it.

When that decision was announced, the state court said it would accept arguments on how that applied to the state case. When no decision had been reached by the court months later, Moore issued the administrative order that it still was pending.

Moore is represented in the fight by officials with Liberty Counsel, which released a statement that Moore’s testimony “was uncontroverted and very clear.”

“The JIC had a short, and frankly weak, cross-examination. The JIC presented no live testimony. The JIC presented closing arguments for about 45 minutes. Mat Staver presented closing arguments on behalf of Chief Justice Moore for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Then the JIC presented a short rebuttal argument. After hearing arguments from both sides, the COJ adjourned stating the court will make a decision within 10 days,” Liberty Counsel said.

Staver, the chief of Liberty Counsel, said, “We felt our evidence was legally and factually unassailable and clearly showed that the JIC’s charges are baseless.

“The chief justice did an excellent job of testifying in the very court where he should be presiding. The JIC has too much power to file charges that have the effect of automatically removing a judge. This system turns ‘innocent until proven guilty’ on its head. After the JIC made a bogus statement of the law, we had to rebut the JIC with a unanimous 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case directly opposite of what the JIC argued. And yet, no matter how wrong the JIC may be in any given charge against a judge, that judge is automatically removed. This system must be changed.”

The ramifications of the fight are a long way from finished. Moore also had filed a federal court lawsuit over the JIC’s violations of his civil rights, a case that may yet be appealed. And another justice on the state’s Supreme Court, Tom Parker, also has brought a federal case against the state over its violation of his constitutional rights based on unproven allegations from the SPLC.

Staver told WND Moore “point by point” refuted the allegations being made by the SPLC and its friends in the JIC.

He said the problem is that Alabama has a procedure set up for complaints regarding judges that gives a commission too much power – they can remove a judge from the bench on nothing more than someone else’s unproven claim.

He said the current complaint has “no basis” in reality and never should have been considered.

It also poses a danger to justice, because all an activist on the commission, or in the Court of the Judiciary, has to do to reach an improper result is to “get a few other people to go along.”

“Might makes right” under the system the state has, he explained

In defense of Moore, Liberty Counsel has charged the basis of the SPLC’s attack on Moore is nothing but his stance on marriage.

At the time, Staver said: “The politically motivated complaints filed with the JIC have no basis in the Canons of Judicial Ethics. The Alabama Supreme Court is the only body that has statutory authority to overrule administrative orders of the chief justice. See § 12-5-20, Ala. Code 1975. The complaints filed against the chief justice ask the JIC to usurp the legal authority of the justices of the Alabama Supreme Court to review the administrative orders of the chief justice.”

All six of the charges against Moore stem from his administrative order that, Liberty Counsel said, “merely advised probate judges that the prior Alabama Supreme Court orders from 2015 remained in effect while the court was reviewing the matter.”

The JIC had claimed Moore’s order “directed the probate judges to violate federal court rulings,” but Liberty quoted from its text, where Moore said, “I am not at liberty to provide any guidance to the Alabama probate judges on the effect of Obergefell on the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court. That issue remains before the entire court which continues to deliberate on the matter.”

WND reported just a few weeks ago when Moore released internal court communications showing he had tried several times to get the justices to make that decision.

He told his fellow judges “one way or the other: to acquiesce in Obergefell and retreat from our March orders or reject Obergefell and maintain our orders in place.”

“Any decision is better than no decision at all,” he wrote. “The uncertainty facing the probate judges [those who issue marriage licenses in the state] is enormous. … They need guidance from us on this court’s view.”

He later repeated his plea.

Trying to injure

The federal case brought by Parker alleges the SPLC and the JIC are trying “to intimidate, silence, and punish Justice Parker for his originalist judicial philosophy and protected speech.”

That case still is pending.

The SPLC also smeared Carson by putting him on a list of “haters.”

The SPLC’s word has, in fact, already rebounded, and WND reported when a complaint was filed with the Alabama Bar Association against Cohen.

The complaint filed by lawyers Trent Garmon and Holly Garmon was submitted to the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Commission. It alleges Cohen repeatedly has violated Rule 8.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which states, “A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.”

Additionally, the complaint states: “The first official comment to the rule states that the assessments lawyers make regarding ‘the personal or professional fitness’ of those seeking or holding public judicial or legal office are taken into consideration when determining whether or not those people are appointed. Therefore, false and/or reckless statements is understood as having a negative effect on the public perception of the administration of justice.

“And is clearly unethical.”

The complaint states Cohen, in statements that were derogatory to state Supreme Court Chief Justice Moore, said Moore:

  • Was “confusing his personal religious beliefs with his duty to uphold both state and federal law.”
  • Made “improper comments about impending cases.”
  • Had “lack of faithfulness to the law.”
  • Showed “disrespect for the integrity of the judiciary.”
  • Was “thumbing his nose at federal courts and federal law.”
  • Was ‘wrapping himself in demagoguery to further his political career.”

“This is clearly a statement drawing into question the integrity of the chief justice,” the complaint asserts.

Cohen also charged Moore’s actions were “unethical, irresponsible, and lawless.”

  • He said Alabama elected Moore “to be a judge, not a pastor.”
  • Through media reports, Cohen said Moore was “using the religion issue to further his political career, just as Wallace used the race issue to further his.”
  • He called Moore a “religious zealot.”
  • He accused Moore of believing “that he is a law unto himself.”
  • And through SPLC, Cohen accused Moore of being “intoxicated with his own sense of self-righteousness.”
  • And “not seeming to understand that we’re a nation of laws, not men.”
  • He charged that Moore “hadn’t learned his lesson.”
  • And he described Moore as “unfit for office.”

“Our chief justice as elected by the voters of Alabama deserves the respect, honor and dignity the Rules of Professional Conduct afford notwithstanding any disagreement as to legal positions held by Cohen and the SPLC,” the complaint states.

Liberty Counsel, which also has been targeted by SPLC, said in a report last fall that by “falsely and recklessly labeling Christian ministries as ‘hate groups,’ the SPLC is directly responsible for the case of a man who intended to commit mass murder targeted against a policy organization in Washington, D.C.”

“On August 15, 2012, Floyd Corkins went to the Family Research Council with a gun and a bag filled with ammunition and Chick-fil-A sandwiches. His stated purpose was to kill as many employees of the Family Research Council as possible and then to smear Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their faces (because the founder of the food chain said he believed in marriage as a man and a woman). Fortunately, Mr. Corkins was stopped by the security guard, who was shot in the process. Corkins is now serving time in prison. Mr. Corkins admitted to the court that he learned of the Family Research Council by reading the SPLC’s hate map.”

Corkins was sentenced to prison for domestic terrorism, after admitting on video he accessed the SPLC’s recommendations to pick a target for his attack. The SPLC identified FRC as a hate group because it holds to a biblical definition of homosexuality.

WND reported a video showed Corkins entering the FRC offices and confronting Leo Johnson.

[jwplayer UfJlrAZI]

FRC officials repeatedly have explained that they adhere to a biblical perspective on homosexuality but are not “anti-gay.”

“Consistent with his statement to the FBI, a … search of Corkins’s family computer revealed that on the afternoon of Sunday, August 12, Corkins used the computer to visit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website, as well as the websites for the FRC and the second organization on his handwritten list. The FBI later recovered from Corkins’s home several printed Mapquest and Google maps, dated August 12, 2012, for directions to the FRC and the second organization, as well as the pad of stationary paper used by Corkins to create his handwritten list of targets,” the government explained in its court case against Corkins.

Judge Roy Moore’s moral strength and legal brilliance shine through as he tells the story of his Ten Commandments monument battle: “So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, and the Battle for Religious Freedom”

Liberty Counsel pointed out that under the standard SPLC uses to call group’s “hate” organizations, the Catholic Church would qualify, as well as virtually every major Christian group in the world.

‘Hate’ label would apply to Obama

The SPLC’s “hate” label also would have applied to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, before they “evolved” to become ardent supporters of “same-sex marriage,” noted Staver.

Same-sex marriage was mandated in 2015 by the bare 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court majority of Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and the late Antonin Scalia opposed it.

There are a number of reasons critics of the decision are growing in number.

For one, two of the justices in the majority, Kagan and Ginsburg, refused after being asked to recuse themselves from the case because they had openly advocated for same-sex marriage, apparently violating standards to preserve judicial impartiality. Without their votes, the case would have gone the other way.

Then there was the U.S. Supreme Court’s own opinion just two years earlier, in the Defense of Marriage Act case, in which the court said states have exclusive power over marriage.

And there also are those who point out that the Constitution doesn’t mention marriage but does dictate that everything not mentioned in the document is left to the states and the people.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling “same-sex marriage” an “intrinsic evil.”

And officials from several counties in Tennessee have adopted statements opposing the Supreme Court.

WND also reported when dozens of top legal scholars from the likes of Washington & Lee, Boston College, Kansas State, Notre Dame, University of Texas, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Hillsdale, University of Nebraska, Catholic University and Regent University issued a statement encouraging all state and federal officials to treat the Supreme Court’s recent creation of “same-sex marriage” as “anti-constitutional and illegitimate.”

“It cannot … be taken to have settled the law of the United States,” said the statement from the American Principles Project.

“We call on all federal and state officeholders: To refuse to accept Obergefell as binding precedent for all but the specific plaintiffs in that case. To recognize the authority of states to define marriage, and the right of federal and state officeholders to act in accordance with those definitions. To pledge full and mutual legal and political assistance to anyone who refuses to follow Obergefell for constitutionally protected reasons. To open forthwith a broad and honest conversation on the means by which Americans may constitutionally resist and overturn the judicial usurpations evidence in Obergefell.”

 

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