During a press conference November 22 on the steps of the Alabama Judicial Building, Moore said the time is right for a solidly conservative justice to lead the state’s judicial arm. “There is no question that I know this job,” he said, “and I believe the people of Alabama know exactly what I stand for.”
In announcing his candidacy, the 64-year-old Moore “pointed to his previous experience as chief justice, including keeping the courts open despite what he said were significant budget cuts,” reported the Associated Press. “He also said the court under his leadership effectively outlawed gambling machines in Alabama, ended an occupational tax in Montgomery County, and stopped a long-running school equity funding lawsuit.”
Moore, who was appointed as a county judge in 1992 by then-Governor Guy Hunt, “attracted national attention in a legal battle with the American Civil Liberties Union over his practice of opening court sessions with prayer and displaying a homemade plaque of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom,” recalled the AP. “After being elected chief justice in 2000, he had a 5,280-pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments installed in the lobby of the state judicial building in Montgomery. That set off more legal battles, which he lost. A trial court for judges removed him in 2003 over his refusal to abide by a federal judge’s order to remove the display.”
In the years since being removed from office, Moore has run twice for Governor of his state, losing in the 2006 Republican primary to incumbent Governor Bob Riley, and finishing fourth in the 2010 GOP primary. In addition, for the past eight years Moore, a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran, has served as president of the Alabama-based Foundation for Moral Law, a conservative legal advocacy and education group.
Moore, said his fight to keep the Ten Commandments display was not about the presence of the monument. “It was never about the Ten Commandments,” he said. “It was about the one who gave the Ten Commandments.” He added that his judicial philosophy remains unchanged. “As a Judge I will always recognize the moral foundation of our law.”
Said the judge in announcing his candidacy: “I have always upheld my oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to uphold and support the Constitution of the State of Alabama. I look forward to once again serving the good people of the great State of Alabama, So Help Me God.”
In the upcoming March 13 Republican primary, Moore will face current Chief Justice Chuck Malone, along with Charlie Graddick, a former attorney general and current circuit judge in Mobile. A Democrat contender has yet to announce a run for the office.
Photo of Judge Roy Moore: AP Images