MONTGOMERY, Ala. (ABP) — A specially appointed judicial panel, led by a former Alabama governor, will hear Roy Moore's appeal after Moore's former state Supreme Court justices withdrew from the case.
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) announced Dec. 16 that former Gov. John Patterson will lead the panel of seven retired judges from around the state. The special temporary court will hear Moore's appeal to be reinstated as the state's chief justice.
The day before, Moore's eight former colleagues on the Alabama Supreme Court recused themselves from hearing the case, saying judicial propriety precluded their further involvement in the case.
Patterson — himself a retired judge — and the rest of the panel were chosen at random from a list of more than 100 retired state judges that was compiled by the Supreme Court's clerk.
It includes two judges to whom Moore's attorneys specifically objected — retired Circuit Judge Braxton Kitrell of Mobile and retired Alabama Supreme Court Justice Janie Shores of Birmingham. Moore said both were biased against him.
Moore was removed from his office Nov. 13 after the state's Court of the Judiciary ruled unanimously that he had violated judicial ethics by defying federal court orders.
Earlier this year, Moore was at the center of a highly publicized legal battle regarding a 5,280-pound granite monument to the Protestant King James version of the Ten Commandments. Moore had the statue installed in the rotunda of the state's judicial headquarters building in 2001.
Two federal courts ruled that the monument was a violation of the First Amendment's ban on government establishment of religion. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Moore's appeal, a federal judge ordered the monument removed.
Moore refused to comply with the order, saying it would violate his oath of office. That oath to uphold the Alabama and federal Constitutions required him to “acknowledge God,” he said.