Albritton dismisses Moore’s lawsuit

Published 12:37 am Saturday, August 6, 2016

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s lawsuit against the state body that filed ethics charges against him in May was dismissed on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Harold Albritton, an Andalusia native, issued the 21-page opinion.

The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission charged Moore with violating the state’s Canons of Judicial Ethics over a Jan. 6 order sent to the state’s probate judges. Moore — citing a lawsuit against same-sex marriage pending before the Alabama Supreme Court — told judges they had a “ministerial duty” not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the matter was resolved. The order came six months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Moore was automatically suspended by the JIC, pending hearings.

Moore in turn filed his federal case, alleging that the automatic suspension provision violated his due process rights under the 14th amendment.

Judge Albritton wrote that Moore could still raise his concerns in state court, but the federal court would not intervene.

“He has chosen not to allow the state courts to determine his federal constitutional challenges, but instead to ask this federal court to act,” Albritton wrote. “This court, out of respect for the state court’s proceedings for determining discipline of the state’s elected judges, in the manner provided by the state’s own constitution, declines to do so.”

The Court of the Judiciary is scheduled to hold a hearing on Moore’s motion to dismiss the charges against him Monday afternoon.