AL Supreme Court justice will face judicial panel over anti-LGBT order

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AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Lawyers for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore— who faces possible removal from office over his actions during the fight over same-sex marriage — will get a chance to argue that the ethics complaint against the judge should be dismissed.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary on Monday scheduled oral arguments for Aug. 8 on Moore’s motion to dismiss the ethics complaint.

The Judicial Inquiry Commission last month accused Moore of improperly trying to block gay couples from marrying despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling for same-sex marriage. The court hears misconduct accusations against judges and could remove Moore from office if they decide he violated the state’s canons of judicial ethics.

The charges against Moore stem from a January administrative order Moore sent state probate judges. Moore wrote that a state Supreme Court order to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples remained in “full force and effect.” The order was issued six months after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide.

Moore’s attorneys argued that the administrative order was not a directive to probate judges, but was an accurate summary of proceedings before the state Supreme Court. His attorneys also claimed that the commission overstepped its authority with the charges against Moore.

Attorneys for Moore had asked for oral arguments on their motion to dismiss and for the decision to be made by the entire court, not just the chief judge. The oral arguments will be the first public proceeding in the complaint against the outspoken Republican jurist.

The judicial panel also wrote in the brief order they had been getting a large number of phone calls from Moore’s supporters.

“Although this court does not have reason to believe that the Chief Justice has encouraged members of the public to initiate contact with this court, this court nevertheless encourages the parties to in fact discourage such contact,” J. Michael Joiner, chief judge of the Court of the Judiciary, wrote in the order.

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