In an interview with Sandy Rios, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore made a truly bizarre and hypocritical statement about segregation. Discussing federal judges overturning state laws banning same-sex marriage, he tried to make an analogy to pro-segregation rulings from the court:
I think we’ve got to look back. Courts are not always perfect, Sandy. The United States Supreme Court is not always perfect. What would you have done in 1857 when they came out and said slaves were property. If you were a judge, would you have followed that opinion? Or in 1896, I think it is, in Plessy v. Ferguson, when they said that separate but equal was the policy that we had to adhere to, would you have followed it?
We’ve got to realize that courts, whether they’re federal, state, Supreme Court are not always perfect. And sometimes their rulings will contradict the Constitution, as did the United States Supreme Court opinion in Dred Scott, as it did in Plessy v. Ferguson, as it did in Roe v. Wade. Everybody recognizes Roe v. Wade is not in accordance with the Constitution, but you know, there it is as law. So I submit to you that we’ve got to look at these things very carefully.
Well gee, Judge Moore, what would you have done in response to Plessy v Ferguson in 1896 when the Supreme Court upheld segregationist policies? After all, a mere 11 years ago you led the fight against removing pro-segregation language from the Alabama state constitution decades after that language became unenforceable due to federal court rulings.
The measure was opposed by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was removed from the bench for defying a court order to remove a stone tablet of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building.
Moore and the Christian Coalition argued that repealing the segregationist 1956 amendment would open the door to court-ordered tax increases for education.
I don’t think there’s any doubt where Moore would have stood in 1896. This is part of a much larger problem conservatives have on such issues. Conservatives in the past opposed every one of these social advances, nearly always using identical arguments, but today’s conservatives want to pretend that they would not have used those arguments in the past in situations where the public overwhelmingly has accepted the change they would undoubtedly have opposed. It’s like every battle for equality exists in a vacuum for them and the past does not exist. The patterns are undeniable.