• Judge Moore Goes to Trial, COJ Decision Expected Any Day

    Isaac Burke - September 29, 2016

    MONTGOMERY, AL — Yesterday, I had the opportunity of witnessing the trial of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is, I am convinced, one of the greatest government officials of our time. Here is some information about the trial proceedings for those who are interested:

    The doors to the courtroom opened at 8:00 AM CDT. I was one of about 200 people who were allowed into the main courtroom. The rest of the people were put in an overflow room with a screen.

    The group that gathered inside the courtroom was made up almost entirely of the Chief’s supporters, consisting mostly of parents with their children. When the Chief Justice finally took his seat with the defense, the entire courtroom erupted into a standing ovation.

    The trial began at 9:00 AM CDT, and took the following format:

    1. The Chief Justice testified before the court, responding to questions from one of his own attorneys. See Part 1 and Part 2 of the trial video.
    2. The Judicial Inquiry Commission (i.e., the prosecution, known as the JIC) cross-examined the Chief Justice. See Part 3.
    3. The JIC delivered its first closing argument. See Part 4.
    4. Attorney Mat Staver delivered closing arguments on behalf of Chief Justice Moore. See Part 5.
    5. The JIC delivered its second and final closing argument. See Part 6.

    The JIC claimed that the Chief Justice had wrongfully commanded Alabama probate judges to disobey “clear law.” They asserted that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution establishes the authority of the federal courts over the state courts. The Chief’s attorneys responded that the Supremacy Clause does no such thing. Instead, they argued, no federal court, except the U.S. Supreme Court, has the authority to tell the state courts what to do.

    Another claim put forward by the JIC was that Obergefell v. Hodges was automatically binding on the State of Alabama. The Chief’s attorneys pointed out in response that the Obergefell opinion itself admitted that Alabama was not a party to the case. Only Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio were parties to Obergefell.

    In my opinion, the Chief and his attorneys presented their case really well. The JIC attorneys did the best they could, but their position was still very weak due to lack of evidence. Simply put, the JIC failed to provide any proof that Chief Justice Moore had committed any ethics violations.

    The nine-member court which is set to rule on the case, known as the Court of the Judiciary (COJ), has up to ten days to decide whether the Chief Justice is guilty and/or should be removed. A decision is expected any day.