MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) - The Southern Poverty Law Center entered a further ethics complaint against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, following statements that he may not comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling should it legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
The supplement filed with the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama includes Moore's statements during a talk radio interview, where he said it would be a "very hard decision" whether to follow such an order by the Supreme Court. The comments were made one day after the SPLC entered their original complaint against Moore.
"In 2003, responsible public officials in Alabama had no choice but to remove Chief Justice Moore from office because he refused to comply with a binding federal court order," said SPLC President Richard Cohen. "By now raising the possibility that he may not comply with a United States Supreme Court decision, Moore has proven that he has not learned his lesson."
The SPLC's new filing notes that Moore's claim that his comments are part of his duty as chief justice is also incorrect.
Tuesday, Moore issued a four-page letter to Alabama probate judges. A portion of it reads, "Lower federal courts are without authority to impose their own interpretation of federal constitutional law upon the state courts. Furthermore, they have absolutely no legitimate authority to compel state courts to redefine marriage to include persons of the same sex."
"In an effort to justify his obviously unethical conduct, Justice Moore has stated that it's his responsibility to instruct the probate courts about their obligations," Cohen said. "But as Moore surely knows, the people of Alabama – through their elected representatives – have reserved that responsibility to the Alabama attorney general."
The SPLC's original complaint describes how Moore has committed numerous ethics violations, noting that he is encouraging lawlessness by attempting to assemble state officials and judges to oppose the federal court system.
The Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama could recommend that Moore face ethics charges in the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
That court removed Moore from the office of chief justice 12 years ago after he refused to comply with a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.