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Alabama Chief Justice Faces Ethics Charges Over Anti-Marriage Equality Stance

Roy Moore

Chief Justice Roy Moore could lose his seat on the bench after a letter to probate judges advising them not to follow the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. 

The top legal authority in Alabama could be removed from the bench--again--over a letter that apparently advises probate judges to ignore last year's same-sex marriage ruling.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore appeared Wednesday before the Court of the Judiciary to determine whether or not he should be sanctioned--or even removed--after a Jan. 6 administrative order on same-sex marriages in the state.

Prosecutors for the Judicial Inquiry Commission argued that Moore encouraged probate judges to go against the ruling based on his personal opposition to same-sex marriage. Moore, who was the only witness to testify during the four-hour hearing, said that he would never violate a federal court order.

Moore was removed from office in 2003 after he refused to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building--following a federal court order telling him to do so.

"We are here 13 years later because the chief justice learned nothing," said John Carroll, lead prosecutor for the JIC.

Moore's opposition to same-sex marriage is well documented, and in a letter to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley called federal same-sex marriage rulings "judicial tyranny."

The court will rule in about 10 days.

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