In 2015, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was targeted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for his stance on Traditional Marriage and his response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.

As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore instructed his probate judges to cease issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples, on grounds that the federal Court’s decision does not apply in the state of Alabama.

The SPLC filed “violation of judicial ethics” charges against Judge Moore in May 2016, saying Moore told probate judges to disobey the law of the land.

Subsequently, Moore endured a Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC), which ultimately imposed a long-term, unpaid suspension on Judge Moore.

The JIC hired John Carroll, a former Legal Director of the SPLC, to prosecute the charges against Moore.

Late last week, the Court of the Judiciary (COJ) panel, led by J. Michael Joiner who is a criminal appeals judge, agreed with the SPLC that Moore told probate judges to disobey the law.

Chief Justice Moore’s legal representatives, including Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver, claimed Joiner and the other judicial officials skirted the law to get what they wanted.

After the decision came down and the long-term suspension without pay was imposed, Staver said, “To suspend Chief Justice Moore for the rest of his term is the same as removal. The COJ lacked the unanimous votes to remove the chief, so the majority instead chose to ignore the law and the rules.”

Staver went on, “It is clear there was not a unanimous concurrence to remove the chief from office, so the COJ suspends him for the remainder of his term. In other words, the COJ did what the rules say they cannot do. There is no meaningful difference between suspension for the remaining of the term and removal from office.”

The COJ’s decision itself confirmed Staver’s accusations, admitting, “A majority of this court also agrees with the JIC that the only appropriate sanction for Chief Justice Moore is removal from office. Removal of a judge from office, however, requires ‘the concurrence of all members sitting.’ Rule 16, R.P. Ala. Ct. Jud.”

So they got around the rule by imposing the long-term suspension without pay instead.

According to World News Daily,

“[Staver] said the evidence presented at a hearing earlier this week showed Moore ‘should be reinstated.’

“’He did nothing wrong. The JIC presented no live testimony or affidavits. The charges should be dismissed. Today’s decision by the COJ to suspend the chief for the rests of his term throws the rule of law out the window. This system must be changed.’

“The ruling from the COJ was signed by W.N. Watson, L. Gwaltney McCollum, Laura Petro, Lucinda Samford Cannon, Joiner, Jeffrey Brock, James W. Woodrock Jr., S. Dagnal Rowe and Daryl O. Perkins.”

Moore’s lawyers believed there was little foundation for prosecution, which they said was why the attorney general had refused to prosecute the case against him.

According to the Liberty Counsel, Moore had merely advised probate judges that the prior Alabama Supreme Court orders from 2015 remained in effect while the court was reviewing the matter.

After the SCOTUS decision in 2015, Moore instructed, “Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders… that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”

WND goes on to report,

“’This was a politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as chief justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda,’ Moore said. ‘This opinion violates not only the legal standards of evidence but also the rule of law which states that no judge can be removed from office except by unanimous vote.’

“In defense of Moore, Liberty Counsel contended the basis of SPLC’s attack on Moore is nothing but his personal stance on marriage.”

Also according to WND,

“Moore also was removed from the same office more than a decade ago for installing a Ten Commandments monument in a state building as a representation of the foundation of American law.

“But Moore’s career may not be over; there are discussions about running for governor.

“…A poll showed Moore was the favorite among Republicans in Alabama for governor in 2018.”

The SPLC has a history of targeting Christians, pro-family or pro-Traditional Marriage organizations, and attempting to label all organized opponents of the homosexual agenda as “hate groups”.

Chief Justice Moore received a standing ovation from supporters last week as he arrived for his ethics trial before the COJ in Montgomery, AL.