A Decade After Ten Commandments Monument Fiasco, Roy Moore Has Been Re-elected Chief Justice of Alabama Supreme Court

Roy Moore is the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who installed a monument of the Ten Commandments into his courthouse. When he was told to remove it, he refused. He was later removed from office — which made sense since you don’t want a man who doesn’t follow the rules to himself be in charge of ruling on the law.

Well… Moore just got re-elected Chief Justice:

“It’s clear the people have voted to return me to the office of chief justice,” Moore said.

“I have no doubt this is a vindication. I look forward to being the next chief justice” Moore told a crowd of sign-waving supporters.

Moore thanked supporters at his party for sticking with him through what had been an up-and-down night that had Vance out to an early lead. Moore eventually won the race with 52 percent of the race with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

“Go home with the knowledge that we are going to stand for the acknowledgment of God,” Moore said to shouts of “Amen” from supporters

Non-Christians in Alabama are screwed if they ever have to deal with him in court, a court now consisting of nine Republicans. Moore says he won’t try to install a Ten Commandments monument again, but his own words suggest making decisions through some sort of theocracy. In other words, a guy who doesn’t even understand the First Amendment is now the head of the court system in Alabama.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • C Peterson

    Alabama is a deep embarrassment to the United States, along with a few other states down that way. It’s basically a third-world theocracy. I wish there was some way to simply get rid of it. I think it’s going to take a real beating from climate change… nice to get the walls up around it before the refugees start fleeing to more civilized parts of the country.

  • Sue Blue

    What is wrong with the South?  Why does blind, mule-like stupidity always seem to sink to the geographic bottom of the country?  I know not everyone in Alabama, or the rest of the deep South, is a Bible-bangin’ moron; but the question then is – why the hell would you live there if you weren’t?

  • James Gonzales-Meisler

    C, Speaking as someone from Alabama, I have to take exception to your comment.  There was a real concerted effort to get Bob Vance in office, and he did better than most of us expected he would.  Yes, a good deal of AL is backwards and hyper-religious, but it’s changing.  I would prefer the “refugees” stay in the state and help us make it a better place to live. 

  • C Peterson

    I wish you luck with that, James. It’s an uphill battle… maybe not even possible to win if the collective intelligence and thinking skills of the populace has decreased past a tipping point (something that all of America needs to be concerned about, but particularly the South).

  • Lena

    Before all the South-bashing comments start (and it’s already too late), please remember that there are plenty of rational people here too. As an Alabama citizen who voted for Obama and against Moore, I feel pretty sure that just like in the rest of the country, as the younger generations (including mine) become of voting age and move into positions of power, the politics down here will gradually become less backwards. We’ll probably always be more conservative than the rest of the country, but don’t write us off a “third-world theocracy”, please. I LIVE here, and even as a liberal female atheist, I have found my peers. In fact, Obama won my county by 55% – if that doesn’t speak to change, I don’t know what does. Yes, I admit I’ll probably leave once I graduate college. But my family cannot leave despite feeling the same way as I do, because my dad is tied to his job here. There are lots of reasons people like us can’t leave, no matter how badly we’d like to.
    TL;DR Not all of us support the election of complete morons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AvaWilliamson Ava Williamson

    Family. Finances. Wanting to try and change things from the inside.

    My entire family is from Alabama. I live within a few miles of most of my family. I could move to another state, but moving to a progressive state would increase my cost of living without dramatically increasing my income.

    Most importantly, I try to work to change things. This race was damn close, and it’s because of the work that progressives did. I’d like to see a day when most of the races are run uncontested by Republicans. If I move away, how can I help that happen?

  • Dee Michael VAN HORN

    Alabama has 2+ great college  football programs, beautiful Mobile Bay, formal gardens, access to the Gulf.  Yet the people’s stupidity, at times, is overwhelming.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AvaWilliamson Ava Williamson

    I’m pretty sure the South doesn’t have a monopoly on irrational and uneducated citizens.

  • http://yeswesam.wordpress.com/ Sam

    As an Alabama voter, I have lobbied against Moore since my teenage years, even when I was still a Christian. I even wrote a speech in college about how he deserved to lose his position. But since his name has only been in Republican primaries since then I’ve never had the chance to vote against him. Until yesterday, when I proudly cast my vote against this man who has done nothing but manipulate the electorate for his entire career.

  • http://yeswesam.wordpress.com/ Sam

    North Alabama is a hotbed of scientists, engineers, and computer specialists. Employment in those fields is easy to find here, especially for those of us born here. But I agree with Ava’s comment too… trying to change things from the inside. I became an atheist while attending college in a small town in rural Alabama, despite being a fundamentalist evangelical homeschooler.

  • Andrew B.

    1) Because some people actually want to change their communities instead of abandoning them.
    2) Because people might still have deep ties to their community/city/state even if they don’t share the majority’s political and religious opinions.
    3) Because some people are just stuck where they are and packing up and leaving would be extremely difficult.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Dharmaworks David Benjamin Patton

    I live in Alabama (unfortunately.) When I voted yesterday I cast two ballots, one FOR President Obama and one AGAINST this nut Roy Moore. As the only non-geriatric at the polling place  I had a feeling I the only one voting for Obama and from some of the looks I got I think the people there suspected it too.

  • C Peterson

    But far too many do. The bashing of the region is entirely appropriate… and I think most people understand that it doesn’t apply to the small minority of rational people unfortunate enough to live there.

  • C Peterson

    Indeed, that’s what I said.

  • Denis

     Fine. But nevertheless, the existence of exceptions to the rule does not by itself invalidate the rule. MOST whites in the South are racist, Christianist morons, as evidenced by church attendance and voting records. Sorry, but the evidence is there. Of course, MOST does not mean ALL. But I’m not convinced that there are enough non-morons in Alabama to save the state from being a total cesspool of religious nuttitude.

  • DelAnaya

    Moore’s election may seem like a non-sequiter on an otherwise democratic evening, but I think it shows that there’s ever-widening daylight between the right and the left in this country. The backward-leaning, greying right may gradually die out, as one writer suggests below, but we’re in for polarized times for years to come. 

  • Art

    The fact is, Roy Moore had an R by his name on the ballot, and I’d wager that a lot of people voted straight-ticket Republican here. I touted Vance as much as I could (as well as many other people I know, liberal AND conservative alike), but it seems clear to me that he got a lot of apathetic “at-least-he’s-Republican” votes.

    Unfortunately, and I’m loathe to admit it, he probably also got the votes of far too many people who approved of his actions ten years ago. A 30-second spot of a candidate singing “Jesus Loves Me” would be amazingly effective in this state.

    I assure you that some of us are reasonable, sane people, but it seems a very large percentage of this state wants a theocracy.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Whenever a government official whom you dislike is elected, the first thing to consider is the length of his/her term, and then start planning his/her defeat.

    According to my quick reading of Alabama law, the term length for state Supreme Court justices is six years. A state constitutional amendment prohibits any member from seeking reelection after the age of 70. Roy Moore was born on Feb. 11, 1947. That means when his term expires in November of 2018, he will be 71, almost 72.

    So Alabama has to put up with him for a maximum of 6 more years.

    What about his successor? 23.5% of Alabamans are currently between age 5 and 18. In six years many of them will be of voting age.  As Lena has pointed out, each successive generation is less backward than the previous one.

    Don’t just fret and grumble, plan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/naomi.anderegg Naomi Anderegg

    I’m going to have to echo the other’s thoughts. I grew up in Birmingham, AL. My parents and brother–who I’m very close to–are here. My husband’s large,  extended family is within an hour’s drive. We have a child and benefit from having them close. And we have a pretty darn low cost of living.

    There is also a certain amount of blind loyalty to and sentimentality about the place that you grow up–especially if you’ve been there most of your life. I love Birmingham and I won’t let the republicans and evangelical Christians drive me away! Not exactly rational, but we’re not completely rational beings.

    Birmingham truly is a small town in a lot of ways–but it’s also a big city in some ways. We have big city education problems and white flight and relatively high crime rates in part of the city. And, we consistently vote democratically. I actually know a lot of progressives who live in Birmingham. (Almost everyone I know on facebook yesterday was voting Obama, and there were as many voting Jill Stein or Gary Johnson as there were voting Romney, so there.)

    Additionally, the number of people in Alabama who split their ticket to vote against Roy Moore was impressive (for Alabama). Moore only got 52% of the statewide vote. (Romney, on the other hand, got 61% of the vote. And Gary Johnson got about 1%. So.. .there’s a nice chunk of people who generally vote republican who crossed over and voted for Vance instead of voting the straight ticket.) True, it would have been nice if more people had. Or if the Republicans had nominated someone else. I’m disappointed about it. But, Moore has always been a nut case, it hasn’t effected me in the past, and I have no plans of jumping ship now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/naomi.anderegg Naomi Anderegg

    So sorry you had a negative voting experience, David. Maybe you should just move to the city? I called my Dad from the polling place (Woodlawn Fire Station in Birmingham) to ask about Amendment 8. (I’d written something on his paper and forgotten what it was.) And, the little old lady next to me slipped me the Democratic Sample Ballot & winked. Lots of people had them coming into my polling station, and as I left I noticed that the mini cooper parked right outside said in bold letters. “PEACE. LOVE. OBAMA.” I smiled, and then other people smiled at me, because it was clear at that point that I, too, voted the way they did. We laughed at me, and then I went on about my day. So… you don’t have to move far–Birmingham is beautiful!

  • William Flowers

    I apologize for Alabama. 
    Every horrid thing you can find to say is justified.  I’ve lived here all my life and nothing surprises
    me anymore.  The state is run by bigots
    and ignorant religious fundamentalists. (Is that redundant?) Hell, George
    Wallace was reelected to the Governor’s office in 1982 on a wave of support
    from black voters.  What could be any
    crazier than that?


    William Flowers

    Dothan, Alabama

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Elsewhere in Alabama: Dead candidate beats incumbent

  • Stev84

    Judges should never be elected in the first place. It’s the height of insanity to do so

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

    Not a monopoly, but a predominance that doesn’t exist elsewhere, which is the problem.

  • Lee7724

    I live in Alabama and the non-theistic, white or otherwise, are VERY few and far between. In a college of 30,000+ students, I have met fewer than 10 people who will openly admit to being an atheist. A casual stroll through the food court on campus finds me overhearing earnest discussions between 18-22 year olds of “what God’s plan is” or “what the lord wants for me in this life.” It’s sad and terrifying, really.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EODM45N2R75PI57HLZQIF5C3XA Mark

    Hey Denis,

    Where are you from ?

    As a humanist and a rationalist, i am calling you out for lack of evidence and experience.  How irrational is it to denigrate an entire state full of people with so little upon which to base your prejudices and stereotypes ?

  • C Peterson

    Good point. And look at the guy. Is that hog fat his face is exuding? And how about that receding hairline, and the creased earlobes? He’s already exceeded his likely lifespan given the abbreviated actuarial tables of his third-world home. With any luck, he’ll be dead before his term is up.

    Should probably get that planning process in place soon!

  • Vision_From_Afar

    That is such privileged bullhockey my head hurts.
    That’s like saying that profiling all black people in a neighborhood as “thugs” is “entirely appropriate” since “most people understand that it doesn’t apply to the small minority of rational people unfortunate enough to live there.”
    If it’s so understood, why keep saying it, except to remind those who live in the South that outsiders still consider them all backwoods relative-screwing hicks?

  • Vision_From_Afar

     He died after winning the primary, but before the election. It’s in the constitution that once someone wins a primary and ends up on a ballot, their name cannot be removed by law. But that only explains why he was still on the ballot.
    He was an (R), and that’s why he won.

  • Jim

    You bunch of smug, self satisfied hypocrits.  I’ve lived all over and bigots are everywhere.  Try reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X.  The angriest black man in America didn’t grow up in the south.  The only difference between the south and everyone else is they are a little more open about it here while most of yall non-southerners like to pretend that you are so much more enlightened.  Give me a break.  We’ve come further in the last 40 years than any other part of the country.   Anyone who thinks Alabama has a monopoly on racism is a blind fool.

  • C Peterson

    Profiling a black neighborhood as being thuggish would be entirely appropriate if most of the residents of that neighborhood were, in fact, thugs. But where is that true? That is in contrast to Alabama and some other states, where most of the residents are, indeed, ignorant fools. And we can properly characterize the states that way, despite a rational minority.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KTCDIJTRDUJWVNY3DYJYN7DE2U Steven

    As someone who lives in the cesspool known as Alabama, a lot of us don’t want to be here.  I was living in Washington state and loving it.  Unfortunately my mother got really sick and I had to come back down.  Luckily she is doing much better and when she has a clean bill of health I won’t be sticking around much longer.  She understands how miserable I am down here but is of course appreciative of my coming back down to help her get on the mend.  I was born in Mississippi and lived most of my life in Alabama.  From my first-hand experience down here I can honestly say it’s nothing but a pile of anti-intellectual, racist, bible-thumping shit.  Living in Washington was great, I could tell people I was an atheist and not get death threats.  I can’t wait to go back home where people have some sanity.  The south sucks and the rest of the country would be better off if it would be allowed to secede like they wanted to.  It wouldn’t take long and it would be a country a lot like the theocracies in the Middle East.

  • nobody

    This makes me believe Alabamians for the most part should not be allowed to vote. Obviously the constitution means nothing to these people. Forcing God and religion down people’s throats is our top priority. Personally I think it’s an insult to God to drag him into our dealings. Thank you Alabama this is one of the many reasons we get no respect in this country and treated like back water hicks that many think we are. God has no place in government. What ever happened to “render onto Ceasar what is his and onto God what is his.”?

  • A3Kr0n

    Wisconsin is pretty cool. We’re in a blizzard right now! The FFRF is here, too.