Judge Roy Moore resigned from his seat as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in order to pursue a new job—this one in Washington, D.C.
The judge said Thursday he plans to challenge Sen. Luther Strange in the Aug. 15 Republican primary for the special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Strange, the former Alabama Attorney General, was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley, whom he was investigating at the time.
Bentley resigned after he was arrested on two misdemeanor charges of malfeasance in office related to an extramarital affair he had with one of his senior advisers. His successor, Gov. Kay Ivey, set a date for a special election as one of her first acts after being sworn in.
"I'll stand for the rights and liberties of the people," Moore said while announcing his intent to run at the Alabama statehouse in Montgomery. "My position has always been God first, family then country.
"I share the vision of President Donald Trump to make America great again. Before we can make America great again, we've got to make America good again."
The GOP primary field is already widening up. In addition to Strange and Moore, state Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) and Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson have announced their intent to run. Three other state legislators are said to be considering a run.
Candidates have until May 17 to qualify for the primary election. If there is no clear winner on Aug. 15, a runoff will be held Sept. 26. Regardless of how deep the field is, the election will provide a true test of Alabama's support for the twice-removed former chief justice, who has been the target of politically motivated complaints filed by the ultra-liberal Southern Poverty Law Center.
The most recent travesty was his suspension amid complaints over an administrative order he gave the state's lower courts in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to "legalize" same-sex "marriage." Following a complaint from the SPLC, the state's Court of the Judiciary found he had violated judicial ethics by telling probate judges they still had a duty to uphold Alabama's laws against gay marriage.
"I have done my duty under the laws of this state to stand for the undeniable truth that God ordained marriage as the union of one man and one woman," he said. "I know and I think you do, too, that the foundations of the fabric of our country are being shaken tremendously.
"Our families are being crippled by divorce and abortion. Our sacred institution of marriage has been destroyed by the Supreme Court. Our rights and liberties are in jeopardy.
"What I did, I did for the people of Alabama. I stood up for the Constitution. I stood up for God. The great majority of the people of this state believe in God."
After Moore's suspension by the Court of the Judiciary was upheld by a special court convened in lieu of the Supreme Court, Ivey appointed Associate Justice Lyn Stuart as chief justice. Stuart had been serving as the acting chief justice while Moore was suspended, and will likely face one of Moore's closest allies in the 2018 election.
Associate Justice Tom Parker has also announced that he will run for Alabama Chief Justice, saying the state needs to maintain a conservative court.
"Alabama is a conservative state," he said. "We revere the Constitution and the rule of law. And I believe our courts are the battleground for our God-given rights as free people.
"Please pray with me as I take this step, and thank you for standing with me as I continue to stand for the God-given principles that remain the foundation of the freedoms we cherish as Alabamians."
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