The justice, already facing an SPLC ethics complaint, claims in an unrelated opinion issued today that he is not bound by decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is apparently laying the groundwork for defying the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the same-sex marriage case.
In an opinion in a commercial case released just hours after the marriage decision, Justice Moore made the unprecedented claim that he was not bound by decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that conflict with his view of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, he stated that it would violate his “oath of office” and “every sound principle of constitutional law” for him to follow U.S. Supreme Court rulings with which he disagrees. His alter ego — the Foundation for Moral Law, the private organization run by his wife and for which he serves as president emeritus — announced that “the battle for traditional marriage will continue despite the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.” According to the Foundation, the U.S. Supreme Court has “no legal authority to redefine marriage.”
Justice Moore is fundamentally wrong. The U.S. Constitution is the “supreme law of the land,” and U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Constitution are binding on all state and federal courts. Justice Moore’s claim that he is not bound by decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court with which he disagrees is an invitation to anarchy. His statements reflect, once again, that he is not fit for the office that he holds.
The SPLC filed an ethics complaint against Justice Moore with the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama in January after he urged the governor and Alabama judges to defy federal law and enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriage following a federal judge’s ruling overturning the ban. That complaint is still pending.