Fate of Chief Justice Roy Moore Hangs in the Balance

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“Call upon Jesus! Turn or burn,” a young supporter of Roy Moore shouted at members of the LGBT community. The LGBT group countered by playing an Alabama Shakes’ anthem called “Don’t Wanna Fight” loudly over giant speakers. Several children were among the overall peaceful protestors that gathered at the state Supreme Court Wednesday for the trial of yet another high-ranking Alabama official, Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Inside the courtroom it was much quieter, but no less intense. Moore took the stand in his own defense in the same room he usually presides over. He stated many times in his testimony that he never told probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same sex marriage nationwide. Moore’s attorney, Mat Staver, echoed this argument and said that the order was merely a status update to clear up confusion.

The Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC), the panel charging Moore, said the Chief Justice has routinely defied federal court orders. Ashby Pate spoke for the JIC. He said Moore’s administrative order was “constitutional chicken,” a game where two players challenge each other head on. The player that yields first loses. But in this game, Pate said, the U.S. Supreme Court always wins.

The trial ended without a decision, and some were disappointed. Robert and Peggy Dresden drove all the way from Illinois just to show their support for the embattled Chief Justice and they say he’s innocent.

“He’s a godly man and a guy who believes in constitutional law,” Robert Dresden said. “He has his opinion to speak out against that, yes he does.”

“I don’t think he violated any rules,” said Peggy Dresden. “I don’t think he did at all. I don’t think the Supreme Court has the ability. They don’t have the authority to make law. They only have the authority to make rulings.”

Just to clarify, the U.S. Supreme Court does not make laws. However, they do have ultimate authority over the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, which is the law of the land. The Supremacy Clause in the constitution grants that authority to the court.

Like everyone else in attendance, LGBT advocates are also hoping for a speedy decision. Ambrosia Starling, the Alabama drag queen who, according to Moore, is public enemy number one, says she’s hoping to see him removed from the bench. But, “If we do not see action here, we will ask the Department of Justice to intervene because that’s part of the due process of law, which even a drag queen understands even if the Chief Justice doesn’t,” Starling said.

Moore’s attorney said if the Chief Justice is removed, an appeal is likely. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary has up to ten days to issue its decision on the case. Until which time, the fate of Roy Moore hangs in the balance.

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