More Moore

November 16, 2012

One of the mostly over-looked stories from last week's elections is the return of controversial judge Roy Moore to the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. I noted this in my Ethics Daily article last week, but the presidential race and the congressional contests have overshadowed this particular race. In 2003, Moore was removed from the bench for violating a federal order. He had installed a 5-ton monument (idol?) of the Ten Commandments in the dark on the night and then refused to remove it. He was rightly removed from the office of Chief Justice for refusing to obey the law (for some background, check out my first book, a journal article I wrote, and an Alabama newspaper editorial I wrote). But now--after two embarrassing defeats in Republican gubernatorial primaries and a laughable exploration into a presidential run--the voters of Alabama have returned the law-breaker to his old post as Chief Justice. This should be the poster case for why such positions should not be elected! During the campaign, Moore said he would not attempt to return his 5-ton monument (idol?) to the courthouse, but played on that effort by campaigning as the "Ten Commandments judge." However, his tone is shifting in alarming ways since his victory. Moore triumphantly declared with a victory cake shaped like the Ten Commandments (an edible idol?):

I have no doubt this is vindication for what I stood for. ... Go home with the knowledge that we'll stand for the acknowledgment of God.
Although he still promises not to return his monument (idol?), his rhetoric shows he is unrepentant and will likely push the church-state line in some way. This is a sad development for the law and for the faith.