On Wednesday, Judge Moore’s attorneys tried to convince a special session of the Alabama State Supreme Court to overturn his removal from office and return him to his position as Chief Justice. He was removed for malfeasance after refusing to follow a federal court order that he remove the 5000 pound monument that he had moved in to the Supreme Court building in the middle of the night of his own accord. In the process, his attorney seems to have invented an entirely new reason to justify Moore’s flouting of the court order:
Phillip Jauregui (Moore’s attorney – ed. note) agreed Thompson had authority to interpret the Constitution. But the judge said in his order that he lacked the expertise to define religion and considered it “unwise and even dangerous” to do so. Jauregui said that if Thompson couldn’t define religion, he couldn’t interpret the Constitution. Therefore his order was void and “it was proper for Chief Justice Moore to refuse to follow it,” Jauregui said.
We’ll add this to the list. First Moore claimed that the federal courts had no jurisdiction over the actions of states, so he didn’t have to follow the order. Then he claimed that since the Alabama state constitution acknowledges God, that made his 5000 pound monument permissable. Now he’s got a new argument. But my favorite part of what his attorney said was this:
He said he wasn’t asking the special seven-member state Supreme Court to overturn the federal order, just to rule that it wasn’t improper for Moore to refuse to obey it. He also asked the court to reinstate Moore as chief justice.
“We’re not asking this court to put the monument back,” said Jauregui. “We’re asking this court to put the chief justice back.”
Jauregui said Moore had two choices – to violate his oath or to obey an unlawful order.
Now let’s think about this. Moore believes that his oath of office required him to disobey the court order. He has stated that he was required to follow “God’s law” rather than the court ruling. But now he’s saying that if they let him come back, he won’t bring the monument back? Does that mean that suddenly “God’s law” and his oath of office don’t require that he refuse to follow the order? Or were those arguments just empty rhetoric that could quickly be thrown overboard if it’ll help him get his job back?