Moore Tells AL Judges Not to Follow Fed. Court Order

Last week Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore wrote a letter to the governor claiming that they did not have to comply with a federal court order striking down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Now he’s gone a big step further and instructed state probate judges that they do not need to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the fact that the appeals court rejected a stay of that lower court ruling.

Doubling down on comments made last week, Moore sent a letter and memorandum Tuesday to the state’s probate judges, telling them they were not required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if a recent federal court decision goes into effect.

The chief justice, never shy about sharing his socially conservative viewpoints, wrote that “nothing” in U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade’s decision to strike down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage “requires Alabama probate judges to issue marriage licenses that are illegal in Alabama.”

“Lower federal courts are without authority to impose their own interpretation of federal constitutional law upon the state courts,” Moore wrote in the letter, which he characterized as an “advisory” opinion. “Furthermore, they have absolutely no legitimate authority to compel state courts to redefine marriage to include persons of the same sex.”

I’m actually glad he did this. Last week’s letter was just an expression of his opinion. This memo is official and is him directly instructing lower court judges that they can ignore the federal courts. This is exactly the same thing he tried to do more than a decade ago when he refused to comply with a federal court ruling that ordered him to remove the huge Ten Commandments monument he had put up at the state supreme court building. For that, he was removed from the bench and it could very well happen again.

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  • cycleninja

    …he was removed from the bench and it could very well happen again.

    At which point he’ll just be elected again, right?

  • John Pieret

    “Elmore County Probate Judge John Enslen says he is stopping weddings at the Elmore County Courthouse in Wetumpka, Ala., on Friday February 6, 2015, because he is against same sex marriage.”

    Classic 5 year old’s reaction to losing … take your ball and go home.

  • brucegee1962

    Translation: “Sure, Lee surrendered at Appamatox, but let’s just roll all that losing the Civil War business back, okie doke?”

  • raven

    For that, he was removed from the bench and it could very well happen again.

    Who has the power to do that?

    From Google religigioustolerance. org Court of the Judiciary voted to remove Chief Justice Ray Moore from office …

    There is no guarantee that they will do it again. Alabama has gotten more cucko not less in the last few years.

    If they don’t then what? The lower courts probably aren’t required to follow illegal rulings from a state Supreme court wingnut judge but in Alabama, they probably would.

  • whheydt

    Moore really has a problem understanding the Supremacy Clause. I’d love to see the Federal district judge haul him into her courtroom (probably on a show cause order) to explain himself and explain why he shouldn’t be fined and/or jailed for contempt. His appeal of such an action would be highly entertaining as well.

    SPLC, last I heard, has amended their ethics complaint against him to include this latest idiocy.

    George Wallace at the schoolhouse door…Roy Moore at the courthouse door. Pretty much the same thing.

  • raven

    Moore really has a problem understanding the Supremacy Clause.

    He knows. It’s pretty simple.

    He has just chosen to ignore it.

    Is this what the right wingnuts mean when they talk about activist judges? Moore is simply ignoring the US constitution and doing it deliberately.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I just happened to have read the constitution this last week (after finishing the Federalist Papers, which took a good deal longer).

    Ye Olde Constitution

    IANAL, but these bits seemed relevant:

    Article IV, Section 1: Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.



    Article V!: … The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    BTW, I had to look up Corruption of Blood.

    Possibly the coolest phrase in the constitution.

  • tacitus

    At which point he’ll just be elected again, right?

    Given that he was unable to parlay his last sacking into a political career, very probably.

  • lorn

    The popular mythology was that the Civil War and thirteenth amendment settled slavery once and for all in the US. It helps to set the tone of the south in defeat to remember that Mississippi didn’t ratify the thirteenth until 1995 and it was not certified until 2013.

    The raw fact is that slavery didn’t end in nineteenth century, and the functional equivalent of slavery continued in the south, under the names of sharecropping and prisoner labor, forty years into the twentieth century.

    The resistance is implacable and timeless. For some in the south the Civil War was just a battle in a much larger war for hearts and minds.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Looks like I’m gonna need a more popcorn….

  • abb3w

    I suppose at some point, it might involve Federal judges issuing orders to the Marshals to detain Moore.