Today Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit against the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) raising constitutional challenges to the charges against Chief Justice Roy Moore and the automatic removal provision of the Alabama Constitution. Liberty Counsel is also asking the court to immediately reinstate the Chief Justice.
The JIC previously filed a complaint against Chief Justice Moore of the Supreme Court of Alabama. The charges focus solely on his Administrative Order issued in January 2016, in which he wrote that the 2015 orders of the Alabama Supreme Court regarding same-sex “marriage” remained in effect until the Court held otherwise. Chief Justice Moore did not participate in the 2015 orders, which ruled that the state’s Probate Judges must uphold the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Act.
Under the Alabama Constitution, any judge who is charged by the JIC is automatically removed from the bench pending trial before the Court of the Judiciary. This procedure violates due process and other constitutional protections. The automatic removal provision places far too much power in the JIC, which can just file charges and have a judge removed.
Liberty Counsel will also soon file in the Court of the Judiciary asking that the charges be dismissed because the JIC lacks authority to render legal opinions when it disagrees with a judge’s interpretation of the law. Liberty Counsel will also raise the JIC’s violation of the Confidentiality Rule that requires confidentiality of an investigation until a charge is made. In this case, the JIC intentionally leaked the pending charges to the media, which is a serious violation of the JIC rules.
“The charges against Chief Justice Roy Moore must be dismissed. The JIC has no jurisdiction over an Administrative Order of the Chief Justice. Only the Alabama Supreme Court has jurisdiction, and that Court agreed with the Order,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We are asking the federal court to strike down the automatic removal provision in the Alabama State Constitution and we are asking that Chief Justice Moore be immediately reinstated,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.