The removal from office of former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore would seem to bring to a close the saga of conflict over his decision to install– and refusal to remove — a 5,000-pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments in the state’s Judicial Building. But while Moore is off the bench, he isn’t out of the spotlight — and his battle and his political career are far from over.
Emerging from the courthouse on Wednesday, a defiant Moore told reporters that he had “absolutely no regrets.” He went on to defend his action: “The Alabama Constitution says that God is the source of our justice system. To acknowledge that God cannot be on the wrong side of the law, it’s on the right side of the law. It’s acknowledging the God that’s stated in our constitution.” The monument was a symbol, Moore declared, a reminder that the Ten Commandments are the “moral foundation” of our law. (Really, Roy?)
Moore said he would continue his fight for his apparent right to violate the separation of church and state, and said he will propose legislation to Congress to “limit the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts.” Moore’s cause has attracted teh support of legions of conservative Christians, and thos supporters aren’t fading away.
The Cavalier Daily thinks that the struggle over the Ten Commandments was a base manipulation of religious sentiment for political gain that, far from signaling the end of Moore’s career, will lead to the beginning of a new one:
“The ruling brought an end (at least for now) to Moore’s judicial career, but his return to private citizenry has been anything but private. Rather, Moore’s expulsion from the court is the culmination of the most crass publicity stunt in recent memory and a disturbing reminder that, whatever the century, Americans remain vulnerable to religious demagoguery.
As a bit of political jujitsu, Moore’s installation of the monument was pure genius. By placing the massive statue (nicknamed ‘Roy’s Rock’) in a public building in blatant violation of the First Amendment, Moore fired the first shot in a political battle he could not lose. If the courts upheld the legality of the monument, then Moore would be hailed by conservative Christians as the visionary leader who brought God back into public life. If Moore was ordered to remove the monument, then he would be revered as a martyr to states’ rights and Christian conservatism, two vague and powerful forces in southern politics even today.
But despite this grave injustice, Moore’s trial drew supporters from across the state, united in their contempt for the rule of law and the separation of church and state. And before this crowd of political pilgrims, the First Amendment won a hollow victory, as the court removed Moore from office, crowned him a martyr and laid the foundations for his eventual return to politics. Moore is widely seen as a possible candidate for governor or the U.S. Senate, and the powerful following that resulted from his crusade will serve him well in any future campaigns.”
In fact, after the ruling many (direct and indirect) supporters of Moore have emerged. The Alabama Baptist Convention passed a resolution on Wednesday endorsing the public display of a Ten Commandments monument. Others have been even more outspoken. The Christian Defense Coalition is apparently considering filing a federal lawsuit over Moore’s removal from the bench, something Christian talk show host Kelly McGinley has already done, claiming that Moore’s removal violated her rights as a voter. She says that the defendants (which include Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, the Judicial Inquiry Commission, and State Comptroller Robert Childree) have “voided her lawful cast vote.” Wonder what McGinley thinks abotu presidential impeachement…
In the meantime, Moore also has to pay the price of not just his own, but the monument’s removal — some $7,000 — and clean out his office, which will then be locked until a new Chief Justice is appointed by the governor. That governor might one day be Moore himself, according to his attorney Terry Butts: “He’ll be back as a U.S. senator. He’ll be back as a chief justice. He may be back as governor.”
The Boulder News agrees, that Moore won’t be gone for long:
“The ex-chief justice is consulting with his legal and religious advisers and preparing to make a public statement that ‘could alter the course of this country,’ in his words. Nothing prevents Moore from running for a seat on the court next year, unless his opponents succeed in having him disbarred. Down the road, he might choose to run for other offices, including governor.
The ruling of the state disciplinary panel established once and for all that Moore does not speak for the state of Alabama. But he does speak for many others, and in that circle of admirers his departure from office is merely one setback in a larger crusade. We haven’t heard the last of Roy Moore, or of those who share his warped view of the rule of law.”