Tags: Gay Marriage | Alabama | Justice Moore | violation | ethics | gay marriage | letter

Ala. Chief Justice: I Haven't Violated Ethics in Gay Marriage Letter

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 07:06 PM

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says he did not violate judicial ethics when he wrote a letter to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday urging him to uphold the state's ban on same-sex marriage, but was simply pointing out proper jurisprudence.

"Somebody needs to challenge what is happening on the federal bench, because what's happening on the federal bench is wrong," Moore said Wednesday on "Washington Watch" with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Earlier Wednesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Alabama, filed a judicial ethics complaint against Moore with the Judicial Inquiry Commission, AL.com reported.

The complaint accuses Moore of, "improper public comment on pending and impending proceedings, lack of faithfulness to the law and failure of professional competence" and "disrespect for the dignity of the judiciary and undermining public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary."

Moore wrote his letter to Bentley after U.S. District Judge Callie Granade on Friday issued a ruling striking down Alabama's Sanctity of Marriage Amendment that was passed by voters in 2006. Granade has stayed her ruling until Feb. 9.

But Moore told Perkins that federal judges do not have the authority to overrule state courts, and that the only court that can reverse a ruling by Alabama's or any other state's supreme court is the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court is not scheduled to rule on gay marriage until June, there currently is no court ruling that can overturn Alabama's law and force county probate judges' offices to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he said.

Moore pointed to various Alabama court rulings that say Alabama courts are not bound by federal decisions and said that former U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas have made similar statements in their rulings.

"It's a misunderstanding ... of the proper role of the state courts and federal courts," Moore said.

Asked by Perkins if other state officials are cowards for not standing up as he has, Moore said no. They just don't understand what they can and can't do, he said.

"People will stand up when they're enlightened and learn what the case law is," he said.

"Judges can interpret the Constitution, the chief executive can interpret the Constitution, and the Legislature can interpret the Constitution," he said. "Judges don't have the final say. They are the arbiters … of the law."

Twenty-one states have seen federal judges overturn bans on same-sex marriage that were enacted by vote of the people. Moore said he fears the U.S. Supreme Court will look at the fact that 30 or so states currently have same-sex marriage and base their ruling on that, even though most of them are states that had the will of their voters overturned by federal judges.

"We're letting the judiciary run the country without constitutional authority," Moore said. "We need to wake up to what the Constitution says."

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Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says he did not violate judicial ethics when he wrote a letter to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday urging him to uphold the state's ban on same-sex marriage, but was simply pointing out proper jurisprudence.
Alabama, Justice Moore, violation, ethics, gay marriage, letter, Supreme Court
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2015-06-28
Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 07:06 PM
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