Liberty Counsel, Montgomery, AL:
Despite the fact that the appeal of Chief Justice Moore is pending and that certain justices have been asked to recuse, Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart is demanding that Chief Justice Roy Moore remove all his personal items from his office by October 18, 2016. Adding further insult, Stuart states that Chief Justice Moore must be accompanied by a marshal. Stuart stated this demand in a letter sent to the Chief Justice dated October 11, 2016. In another letter with the same date, Stuart informed the Chief Justice that her staff will now open any “official looking” mail. Stuart also modified the official Alabama Supreme Court letterhead and removed Chief Justice Moore’s name.
Chief Justice Moore has filed an appeal of the decision issued by the Court of the Judiciary on September 30 to suspend him for the remainder of his term, which runs through January 2019. The Chief Justice also filed a motion to recuse four of the current Alabama Supreme Court justices and three former justices who sat by designation in his May 2016 petition regarding the Judicial Inquiry Commission. He also issued a statement asking the Court to unseal the case that underlies his motion.
When the Court of the Judiciary (COJ) unlawfully suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore for life, the members of the court invented a punishment that is much worse than removal because the Chief is left without salary, benefits, and the ability to receive retirement or earn any income. When his term expires in January 2019, Chief Justice Moore cannot run again for election as a judge due to his age. Therefore, the suspension until the end of his term is a de facto removal from the bench and is far more punitive.
“Removing the Chief Justice’s name from the official Supreme Court letterhead and demanding he remove all his personal items sure looks like removal to any objective observer,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The Court of the Judiciary lacked the unanimous 9-0 votes to remove the Chief, but the punishment that the Court created is de facto removal. This recent action by Acting Chief Justice Stuart is premature because the appeal is pending along with a motion to recuse certain members of the Alabama Supreme Court. This prejudgment of the appeal seriously raises doubt that Chief Justice Moore can get a fair hearing. No one should prejudge this case. Chief Justice Moore deserves a fair hearing that is transparent and open to public scrutiny,” said Staver.
“Because my opinion opposes the agenda of the Human Rights Campaign and others, well they want me removed and that’s what they are doing.” Justice Moore said in an interview with NBC. “We need to go back to the constitution. We need to go back to recognition that our rights come from God. They don’t come from government, they don’t come from justices that create these rights. The role of government as stated in our organic law is to secure the rights that god gave us.”
Stuart Orders Firing of Moore’s Staff
Adding insult to injury, Acting Justice Lyn Stuart and Justice Michael Bolin summoned Chief Justice Roy Moore’s head law clerk and two other law clerks and terminated them. A marshal and one of Stuart’s staff members were sent to order the law clerks to pack their belongings and turn in their keys.
“This is outrageous,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The appeal is pending but these justices are acting as if the case is over. And these actions are being done despite the pending motion for recusal. These acts underscore Chief Justice Moore, who filed the motion to recuse certain justices on the Court,” said Staver.
“The hostile treatment of Chief Justice Moore, the demand he remove his personal effects, and the abrupt termination of his three law clerks (who had been temporarily reassigned to other justices) is unseemly. The case is still pending, yet these justices make it appear like they have already decided against Chief Justice Moore. They need to decide the motion to recuse and the appeal needs to be heard by an objective and unbiased panel of judges,” said Staver.
“I think their minds were made up and they followed through with what they were going to do,” Moore said to NBC affiliate WSFA in Montgomery. “I think that’s what some want, a forced resignation.”
Lyn Stuart, a Republican receiving a six figure income, is a member in good standing of First United Methodist Church of Bay Minette, AL.
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