MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore said Wednesday that he has not cleared out his courthouse office despite a request by the acting chief justice to remove his personal items.
Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart asked Moore to empty his office by Tuesday evening. Moore’s lawyers have asked the Alabama Supreme Court to overrule Stuart, saying the directive is premature since Moore is appealing his suspension.
“When you are suspended from office, you are not removed. We are appealing it,” Moore said Wednesday. He said he did not think Stuart had the authority to issue the directive.
Moore said Wednesday that he has not received any follow-up communication from Stuart or the court. A spokesman for the court system said Stuart’s office had no comment on the matter Wednesday.
A judicial panel last month suspended Moore for the remainder of his term after finding he urged state probate judges to defy the federal courts on gay marriage.
In January, Moore told judges that a state order to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples had not been lifted and remained in “full force and effect.” Moore’s writing came six months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry. Probate judges were also under an order from a federal judge to stop enforcing Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban.
In its decision to suspend Moore, the panel indicated that a majority wanted to remove Moore outright from office but did not have the unanimous agreement required to do so. Moore said Wednesday that the decision to suspend him for the remainder of his term was a “de facto” removal.
Moore’s attorney Mat Staver on Wednesday said the panel was “overstepping history and the law to remove Chief Justice Moore from the bench.”
Moore’s attorneys have asked a number of Alabama Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves and step aside from his appeal.
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