Thursday, October 13, 2016

Alabama Chief Justice Appeals Suspension With Cryptic Motion For Recusals

As previously reported, two weeks ago Alabama's Court of the Judiciary suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore for the remaining two years of his term on charges stemming primarily from his order to state probate judges telling them they had a duty under Alabama law to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite controlling U.S. Supreme Court precedent to the contrary.  The decision has been followed by a series of appellate moves by Moore.  On Sept. 30, Moore filed a Notice of Appeal with the Alabama Supreme Court. Then on Oct. 10, Moore filed a Motion (full text) to recuse four current and three former Alabama Supreme Court Justices from hearing the appeal.  The grounds for seeking recusal of 6 of the 7 were filed only in a sealed affidavit with the following cryptic explanation:
Because Case No. 1150818 has been maintained under seal by the present and former justices who sat on that case, the argument for this section is not presented in this public filing. However, the facts presented in the attached Sealed Affidavit of Chief Justice Roy S. Moore amply demonstrate that the Justices, present and former, who sat on Case No. 1150818, have disqualified themselves by their biased and unconscionable actions in that case not only from participating in this case but also from playing any role in selecting a substitute Court.... Media organizations and members of the public, if they so choose, may intervene in Case No. 1150818 to demand that the records of that case be made public.
The motion also argued:
The selection of replacement Justices should be made by a random drawing from a pool of names consisting of all sitting circuit judges.
In an October 12 public statement, Moore urged the unsealing of the referenced case, saying in part:
I call upon the press to demand that the Alabama Supreme Court unseal Case No. 1150818 and, if necessary, to intervene in that case. The public has a right to know why I have requested that the justices, who participated in that case, be disqualified from playing any role in my appeal. The Court has refused my requests to unseal Case No. 1150818. I ask the Supreme Court and the media to act...