Roy Moore

  • November 17, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Chris Edelson, assistant professor of government, American University School of Public Affairs

    For much of American history, legal rules and cultural norms have deemed women unworthy of trust or responsibility.  The law often treated women as children, incapable of carrying out adult duties. Women did not have the right to vote until 1920. It took until 1961 for the Supreme Court to strike down laws automatically excluding women from jury duty.   Until 1979, state laws made it legally impossible for a husband to rape his wife. In the early 19th century, the doctrine of “coverture” provided that a married woman did not have legal status separate from her husband.  In the eyes of the law, married women were not their own person.  Women were barred—by law or by practice—from professions like law, medicine, and politics.

    We like to think those days are long behind us, that women are no longer second-class citizens relegated to a separate, lesser sphere. But it may be difficult, especially for men, to recognize the ways in which significant problems linger.

  • January 7, 2016
    Guest Post

    by Alex J. Luchenitser, Associate Legal Director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State

    Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore just doesn’t know when to stop fighting a battle that he has already lost. Yesterday, Moore issued an “administrative order” that purports to prohibit state probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Moore’s “order” is nothing more than legally meaningless political grandstanding. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges that the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from denying same-sex couples the fundamental right to marry.

    Moore’s “order” argues that Obergefell technically invalidated bans on same-sex marriage only in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, and that Alabama’s marriage ban should stand until specifically declared invalid by the courts. But Obergefell is now the law of the land, and all public officials in the country must obey it.

    In any event, the federal courts already have expressly struck down the Alabama laws barring same-sex marriage. In January and May 2015 orders, U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade declared those laws unconstitutional. Less than two months later, shortly after Obergefell was issued, Judge Granade enjoined all Alabama probate judges from denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Then, in October 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit summarily affirmed Judge Granade’s invalidation of Alabama’s marriage laws. In doing so, the Eleventh Circuit specifically explained that Obergefell overrode a March 2015 Alabama Supreme Court ruling that had taken the position that Alabama’s marriage bans were valid.

    Yet yesterday’s “order” by Moore principally relies on that nullified March 2015 ruling. Moore ignores the plain language of the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution: “This Constitution . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” As the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, this means that state officials cannot enforce state laws that federal courts have declared unconstitutional.

  • February 16, 2015
    Guest Post

    by Harvey Fiser, Associate Professor of Business Law at Millsaps College

    All eyes are once again focused on our southern states and their leaders for again defying federal court orders.  This time, as last, is about violating the constitutional rights of its citizens.  The latest in the long line of outspoken obstructionists is Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore.  Moore, infamous for once being removed from his position on the Alabama Supreme Court for defying a federal court order to remove a 2.6-ton monument of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of Alabama’s Supreme Court building, is the lead mouth-piece on the current issue of same-sex marriage. 

    On Monday, February 9, after a denial of a stay request by both the Eleventh Circuit and the United States Supreme Court, United States District Court Judge Granade’s order took effect.  The order declared Alabama’s bans on same-sex marriage violate the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  On that Monday, same-sex couples were allowed the same marriage rights as all other couples in Alabama – until they weren’t. 

    Perhaps forgetting the commandment, “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy (Exodus 20:8),” Justice Moore, on Sunday, February 8, set aside any Sabbath work restrictions and issued an Administrative Order prohibiting all probate judges in Alabama from granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the federal court order.  Moore supported his order with the technical fact that neither the United States Supreme Court nor the Supreme Court of Alabama had ruled on the Alabama laws – never mentioning the denial of a stay by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit five days prior.  The U.S. Supreme Court did act the next day, and, on Monday, February 9, the path was cleared for same-sex couples to marry in Alabama again.  Surely this satisfied Moore’s Sunday declaration.  Except, it didn’t.

  • February 12, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Jenny Kutner reports at Salon on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s belief that the United States would quickly adapt to nationwide same-sex marriage.

    At The New Republic, Brian Beutler asserts that the conservative case against the Affordable Care Act has reached the point of absurdity.

    William Greider considers in The Nation whether 2016 GOP presidential candidates would try to follow the example of Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore.

    At The Atlantic, Inimai M. Chettiar discusses a new report that shows how incarcerating more offenders may be counterproductive to reducing crime.

    Ciara Torres-Spelliscy writes at the blog for the Brennan Center for Justice that a new case could change campaign finance disclosure laws.

  • February 11, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Sahil Kapur discusses at Talking Points Memo how supporters of the Affordable Care Act are tailoring their arguments to winning Justice Anthony Kennedy’s vote.

    Joey Meyer and Brianne Gorod argue at the Constitutional Accountability Center that the case against the Affordable Care Act is quickly unraveling.

    The Editorial Board of The Washington Post asserts that despite confusion and resistance, Alabama is a victory for same-sex marriage.

    Luke Brinker writes for Salon that Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has issued an executive order that removes gender identity and sexual orientation from the classes of protected Kansas government employees.

    Walter Shapiro argues at the blog for the Brennan Center for Justice that the influx of big money into the 2016 primaries could interfere with voter preferences.