Judge Roy Moore Speaks!
A Christian right presidential run creaks a half-inch forward.
Chatterbox pointed out that the deadline for running on the Constitution Party ticket is June 23 (when the party opens its four-day national convention in Valley Forge, Pa.). Would he make a decision before then?
Well, again, I have no decision to make if I'm not planning to run. I just, you know, haven't got plans to run right now [italics Chatterbox's]. And if I do make a decision [to run] I guess it would be before November—er, June 23.
What's the timetable for Moore's legal appeal to win back his position as chief justice in Alabama? Moore has said he wants to pursue that before he does anything else. How long will it take?
I think that within, I would say, two to three weeks if not this Friday—I mean, we expected the ruling already, but there is some delay for some reason that I don't know—but we expect that decision within two to three weeks. And then of course we also would have an appeal to the United States Supreme Court should we desire to take it [italics Chatterbox's].
Note that Moore didn't say he'll file an appeal to the Supreme Court if he loses at the appellate level (as of course he will). He says he'll file an appeal if he feels like it. The distinction is important because it's pretty unlikely the Supreme Court would move quickly enough to leave Moore time to run for president after it declined to take the case or ruled against him—its only two conceivable options. The Supreme Court almost never moves very quickly. And it's hard to imagine the Republican-majority court would make an exception in order to allow Moore time to launch a third-party run that threatened Bush, the very guy the court went through so much trouble to send to the White House in 2000. Maybe Moore is starting to understand the Supremes have the motive and the means to play him for a sucker.
Does Moore recognize that his third-party candidacy for president might install John Kerry in the White House?
Well, I understand that scenario. ... I wouldn't necessarily enter a race to throw a race one way or the other. I think you run a race to win the race, and not just to affect an outcome, because the outcome is in God's hands, not in man's.
Chatterbox took Moore's temperature on the Bush administration, making sure to remind him, Iago-like, that President Bush just appointed to the 11th circuit former Alabama Attorney General William H. Pryor, the guy who fired him.
Well, again, I do think there are problems there. I think that giving a judgeship to a man that follows blindly an order of a district judge that violates his oath and enters an unlawful order is a problem. And of course I don't favor that. And I think it's detrimental to the position of Christians in this country to do so.
Any other beefs with Bush's policies? Moore was unwilling to go further. When pressed, he said, "I'm sure I'd have the same differences with the Kerry administration were Kerry president." This created an opportunity to probe whether Moore saw a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and the GOP. A conviction that the two major political parties are fundamentally indistinguishable—Tweedledum and Tweedledee—is the crucial prerequisite to launching a third-party candidacy.
I would say that there's not much difference these days between those who run under one party or another because they're all after seeking power. Power's not what the Constitution was about. The Constitution was about a limitation on power. It was about the fact that the judiciary should stick to interpreting the law, not making it.
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.