Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says he will announce next week if he will run for higher office.
The high court - with seven specially appointed justices sitting in judgment because all of the elected justices recused themselves - upheld a state judicial ethics board's ruling that Moore violated judicial ethics canons on six counts, concluding, "W$3 e affirm the judgment of the Court of the Judiciary in all respects".
This is the second time Moore has been removed from his duties as chief justice.
The combative judge previously was removed from office by the same judicial ethics board for refusing to remove a copy of the Ten Commandments from the courtroom.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary on September 30, 2016 suspended Moore for the remainder of his term as chief justice after finding him guilty of six charges of violation of the canons of judicial ethics. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary decided on suspending Moore after a recommendation from the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission. Moore was re-elected as chief justice in 2012.
When Moore's term ends in 2019, he will be too old to run for reelection under Alabama law, which limits the age of judges to 70 years.
"For the first time in the history of Alabama, a justice has been disciplined for issuing an Administrative Order".
Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver, who represents Moore, called the decision "a tragedy" and said, "no judge is safe to issue orders or render dissents". Moore and his attorneys said they'd scheduled the press conference to complain about the court's delays in releasing its opinion and said they were stunned the opinion was issued today. Moore had argued he was just updating the judges on an ongoing case in Alabama regarding same-sex marriage licenses.
Moore's political career may still not be over.
Last month, Moore's attorneys filed a motion with the court requesting the cancellation of oral arguments.
"Even though both sanctions are similarly severe, because the Court of the Judiciary was unanimous in its imposition of such a serious sanction, we can not conclude that the Court of the Judiciary violated Rule 16 of the Rules of Procedure of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary", the special court wrote. And now, the Special Court allows the COJ to violate its own rule.
Moore also has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Alabama governor in 2018. One Senate bill proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to require legislative approval of affirmations by the Supreme Court of decisions by the Court of the Judiciary removing a judge from office.