Roy Moore has donned his black judicial robes once again. For many, the one bright spot on the November elections was the election of Roy Moore to the office of Chief Justice in the Alabama Supreme Court. After being removed from office as Chief Justice in 2003 for publicly acknowledging the authority of the God of the Bible over our legal institutions with Ten Commandments monument, his re-election represents a vindication of what he stood for, and hundreds of his supporters showed up Friday afternoon to witness his swearing in ceremony and celebrate. The state supreme court judicial building’s courtroom, the same room where the Chief Justice had been removed from office nine years ago, contrary to the Constitution, was the setting for the ceremony, and it was a packed courtroom with standing room only.
“It was right then to acknowledge God,” Moore said. “And it will continue to be so.”
The Chief Justice of Alabama touched on familiar themes to those who have followed his career during a speech after being sworn in as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court today. He quoted scripture and said the basis of the judicial system was laid out in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. He quoted Madison and Washington and talked about the importance of acknowledging God.
“We’ve got to remember that most of what we do in court comes from some scripture or is backed by scripture,” Moore said. “I’m proud to join this court. I think it’s a good court. I think this court is poised to make a difference, not only in our state but in our nation. Alabama has always led our nation. We’ve led in civil liberty, the restoration of civil liberty. We’ve led in religious liberty. We’ve led in state’s rights. And most recently, we’ve led in college football the last four years.”
Among those in attendance for the swearing in ceremony was the former Dean of Liberty Law School, Jeff Tuomala, as well as Constitution Party presidential candidate Michael Peroutka, and—somewhat unexpectedly—Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. Chief Justice Roy Moore thanked the Governor for honoring them by attending. Reflecting on the providence of God that “works all things together for good” (Romans 8:28), he remarked with a grin, “If he hadn’t beaten me, I wouldn’t be here today.”
In 2010 Roy Moore and Robert Bentley both ran for Alabama Governor under the Republican ticket. “If It hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t be here either,” Bentley responded with a smile, referencing how his supporters helped him prevail in a runoff for the GOP nomination.
Governor Robert Bentley, speaking after the ceremony, said he believed the state was “better off” with those “who believe someone else [besides politicians] controls their lives and controls this state.”
“We have common beliefs and we believe in the same God,” the governor said. “And we worship that same God. And I am honored to serve with two men like this and men and women on this court. It is a true honor. And I truly believe that the people of Alabama are better off when we have men and women who believe there is someone else who controls their lives and controls this state.”
Moore pulled off a political comeback last year when he defeated incumbent Chief Justice Charles Malone and Mobile County Circuit Judge Charles Graddick for the Republican nomination in March, then beat Jefferson County Circuit Judge Bob Vance, the Democratic nominee, in November.
Moore was also elected chief justice in 2000. In November 2003, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed Moore from office after he refused to obey a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he had placed in the judicial building.
Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said Moore’s return to the court marked a sad day for the state, calling Chief Justice Moore “unrepentant.” Cohen said he was concerned that Judge Moore never admitted error on the refusal to follow the federal judge’s order to remove the Ten Commandments. Constitutionally, speaking, no error truly existed, and the primary officials who should have been removed from office for violating their oaths to the Constitution remain in federal court.
Moore noted that Associate Justice Lyn Stuart is now the only member of the Alabama Supreme Court who was on the court when he left in 2003.