MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the disciplinary hearing for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (all times local):
The chief judge on an Alabama disciplinary panel says they’ll decide “as soon as possible” whether to remove Chief Justice Roy Moore from office.
The nine-member Court of the Judiciary has concluded its hearing on allegations that Moore intentionally misused his office to try to block gay couples from marrying in Alabama.
Chief Judge Michael Joiner said he did not anticipate a decision would come Wednesday.
The charges involve an administrative order Moore sent six months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gays can marry in every U.S. state. Moore told probate judges that because the Alabama Supreme Court had not rescinded the state’s gay marriage ban, they still remained bound by it.
Moore’s lawyer, Mat Staver, told the court that Moore’s order was merely a “status report” that “did not order them to disobey anything.”
Moore was removed from office in 2003 for disobeying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.
Attorney John Carroll, representing the judicial commission seeking Moore’s removal, said “we are here 13 years later because the Chief Justice learned nothing from that first removal. He continues to defy law.”
Closing arguments are continuing in a disciplinary hearing that could result in Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s second removal from office, this time over gay marriage.
Attorney Ashby Pate with the Judicial Inquiry Commission urged Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary to remove Moore from office, saying “he urged defiance, not compliance” by defying a decision already settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The charges involve an order Moore sent to the state’s 68 probate judges months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could marry in all U.S. states, and despite a federal judge’s order enjoining Alabama’s judges from enforcing the state’s ban.
Pate said Wednesday that gay marriage was settled law by then, so Moore’s memo asserting that the Alabama Supreme Court’s ban remained in effect trampled on the standards of judicial ethics.
Moore was re-elected after being removed from the bench 13 years ago for defying federal court orders to remove a Ten Commandments statue.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has defended his actions on gay marriage, saying he never encouraged probate judges to defy the federal courts.
Moore took the witness stand Wednesday as a judicial discipline panel weighs whether he violated judicial ethics.
Moore said he was only giving a status update when he told probate judges that a January Alabama Supreme Court order to refuse the licenses remained in full force and effect.
The Chief Justice is accused of urging the probate judges to defy the federal courts on gay marriage, but Moore said he was simply clarifying that the order had not been lifted.
Moore called the charges against him “ridiculous,” and said he doesn’t “encourage anyone to defy a federal court or state court order.”
A lawyer for the Judicial Inquiry Commission will cross-examine Moore later this morning.
Demonstrators rallied in the early morning light in downtown Montgomery both in support and opposition of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Moore goes before a judicial disciplinary panel Wednesday on accusations that he urged the state’s probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples. Moore has denied the accusation.
Moore could be removed from the bench for the second time in 13 years if the panel finds he violated judicial ethics.
Rainbow flags dotted the street outside the Alabama judicial building ahead of the 9 a.m. hearing. Madison Clark said love won when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled and Moore should accept that.
Moore’s supporters blared Christian music through a loudspeaker on the steps of the judicial building. Some demonstrators in support of Moore said they thought Moore had been falsely accused, and others said they were against homosexuality.
Donna Holman, who drove 12 hours from Iowa, to support Moore said “homosexuality is wrong.”
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is going before a judicial ethics panel to answer charges that he abused his power by trying to block gay couples from marrying in the state.
The state panel that disciplines judges will hold a trial-like proceeding Wednesday.
The outspoken Alabama jurist could be removed from office if the panel determines he violated standards of judicial ethics.
Moore is accused of urging 68 probate judges to defy federal rulings on same-sex marriage. He denies the charge, saying he told judges he couldn’t offer them advice.
Moore’s potential removal comes at a moment of political upheaval in the state. The state’s house speaker was removed from office this summer for ethics violations and a committee is investigating if there are grounds to impeach Gov. Robert Bentley.