Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Roy Moore Responds to Judicial Inquiry Commission Complaint - Donald V. Watkins

Roy Moore Responds to Judicial Inquiry Commission Complaint
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on June 22, 2016
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore filed a response yesterday in his judicial suspension case in which he denied violating an existing and binding federal court order directed at him. The response constituted Moore's official answer to an Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission complaint filed against him in May. On the basis of his response, Moore has requested the Alabama Court of the Judiciary to dismiss the case against him.
The full text of Moore's response appears as a link in the article below.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages are constitutionally protected in every state. On January 16, 2016, Moore issued Administrative Order directing probate judges in Alabama to disregard an Alabama federal judge's order that mirrored the High Court's protection of same-sex marriages.
Once the U.S. Supreme Court decides a contested legal issue, the High Court's decision is the final word on the subject in our American democracy and its system of jurisprudence. The High Court does not make law; it only interprets the law.
After the High Court's ruling on same-sex marriages, the pathway forward for Moore and other Americans who opposed same-sex marriages was a proposed Constitutional amendment outlawing such marriages.
Since 1789, the U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times. These amendments resulted from the work of individuals and groups who took the time and effort to codify certain subjects into Congressional Acts. These Acts were then passed by Congress, submitted to the states to ratification, and achieved enough of ratifications to become Constitutional amendments.
For example, the first ten Amendments, which are commonly known as the "Bill of Rights", guarantee individual freedoms, including the freedom to exercise the religion of our choice. The 13th Amendment abolishes slavery; the 14th Amendment establishes due process and equal protection under the law, and the 15th Amendment prohibits the denial of the right of Americans to vote based upon race or color. The 19th Amendment prohibits the denial of the right to vote based upon sex. The 22nd Amendment limits the number of times a person can be elected as president to two four-year terms. The 24th Amendment outlaws segregation-era poll taxes. The 26th Amendment lowers the voting age to 18 years old.
The American system of democracy provides lawful methods for changing laws we do not agree with. These methods have been used successfully and repeatedly since America was founded as an independent democracy in 1776.
There is nothing in American law that permits state court judges (and other Americans) to openly and deliberately disobey U.S. Constitutional provisions, federal statutes, and binding federal court orders without subjecting themselves to penalities for these acts of defiance.
Interestingly, when activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ralph David Abernathy disagreed with existing segregation-era laws in the 1950s and 1960s, they challenged them in the courts. When the courts did not provide adequate relief for the advancement of an equal opportunity in American society, King and Abernathy led a civil rights movement that resulted in the passage in Congress of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
State court judges in Alabama (and elsewhere) are required by law and their oath of office to enforce our laws, whether they agree with them or not. The U.S. Constitution and the Alabama Constitution impose this duty upon Alabama judges. Chief Justice Moore knows this obligation well, especially since he was removed from office in 2003 for disobeying an existing and binding court order directed at him. This makes Moore is a repeat offender in the Court of the Judiciary.
Politicians and laypersons may attempt to implement the old George Wallace-era doctrine of "interposition and nullification", which seeks to nullify basic Constitutional rights, but judges are not free to do so without violating their Judicial Canons of Ethics and oath of office.
Like Martin Luther King and a plethora of other well-known Americans who strongly disagreed with the existing laws of their era, Roy Moore can push for any desired changes in our laws by using the lawful means established by America's founders to achieve such changes. Moore's open and deliberate defiance of an existing and binding federal court order, while cheered by many of his political constituents, is not a permissible exercise of his judicial function in America.

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