Draft Moore: Decision Time
The Alabama Supremes say they don't want him back. How about a new job?
The Supreme Court of Alabama today ruled against its former chief justice, Roy Moore. Moore had filed a legal challenge to his firing after he refused to comply with a federal court injunction that required him to remove from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building a monument to the Ten Commandments. Moore, of course, does not recognize the legitimacy of this ruling, any more than he recognized the legitimacy of any previous court rulings in this case. "The people of Alabama have a right to acknowledge God and no judge or group of judges has the right to take it from them," Moore said in a written statement.
Chatterbox's interest in this case is focused like a laser on one question: Will Moore now run for president on a third-party ticket? As Chatterbox has noted repeatedly, the Constitution Party is keen to make Moore its standard-bearer. If Moore runs for president, as he's suggested he might do, Moore has the potential to siphon so many Christian right votes from President George W. Bush as to throw the general election to the presumptive Democratic nominee, John Kerry. Moore, in other words, has the potential to become the Ralph Nader of the right.
According to Moore's spokeswoman, Jessica Atteberry, Moore isn't going to make any plans until he figures out how to respond to the Alabama ruling. Moore's lead attorney, Phillip Jauregui, told Chatterbox, "We have two options to consider." One is to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The other is to ask for a rehearing before the Alabama Supreme Court. It seems pretty clear to Chatterbox that both options would be a supreme waste of time, in view of three facts:
- The Alabama Supreme Court has already spoken;
- The U.S. Supreme Court already denied Moore's petition for a writ of certiorari asking that he be allowed to keep his Decalogue sculpture;
- Jauregui has already thrown his hat into a congressional primary race that will surely occupy all of his time between now and June 1 (and, if he wins, until the November general election).
Jauregui disputes this last point. "This is the type of law that I love to practice," he said. But let's get real. Wouldn't running for president be a much better use of Moore's time?
"All I can say is what he's said," Jauregui answered, "and that is that he's been trying to get his job back ."
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.