MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) – In his first in-depth interview since being taken off the bench for a second time, Chief Justice Roy Moore is speaking exclusively to CBS42 about everything: from his potential run at the Governor’s office to his time in the boxing ring in Vietnam.
Moore was suspended for the remainder of his term in the fall, after the Court of the Judiciary ruled that he tried to get probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court. Moore still denies any wrong-doing, and claims that his suspension is politically-motivated and illegal. He believes that there are many people in power who don’t like his agenda: legal opposition to same-sex marriage.
“The Constitution of the United States is our supreme law,” Moore said. “We’ve got to recognize and go back to what it says and what it means. I think a lot of people are tired of the courts overlooking the constitution and ruling according to the seat of their pants.”
Moore is in the process of appealing the ruling.
“I think it’s not just important to me,” Moore said. “It’s important to the judges of this state.”
Moore also said that he feels that the ruling sets a bad precedent.
“They [other judges] don’t need to be ruled over by a Judicial Inquiry Commission sitting over them–that was not elected,” Moore said. “We need to go back to the old process where the legislature impeaches people that do wrong–not some politically correct group that sits there to rule on an agenda that they have.”
Meanwhile the SPLC, which filed that ethics complaint, released a statement from it’s president, Richard Cohen, saying in part: “The Court of Judiciary has done the citizens of Alabama a great service by suspending Roy Moore from the bench. He disgraced his office and undermined the integrity of the judiciary by putting his personal religious beliefs above his sworn duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution.”
Whether or not Moore wins his job as Chief Justice back, his future options aren’t exactly limited. He told CBS 42 that he was interviewed by Governor Bentley’s office for the Senate position currently held by Sen. Jeff Sessions.
“I was glad to go,” Moore said, “and I told them that I would be honored to accept such a position if offered. I think that I have the qualifications for such. I know the Constitution. I understand the Constitution, the role of the courts in the Constitution, and the role of the Legislature in the Constitution. I think this is a time in my life where, perhaps, I am ready for that.”
He also remarked, “I think that the federal government has a unique role, and it is under the Constitution, but I think it’s exceeded that role, and I think the courts have been a big problem with state power.”
Moore told CBS 42 that he also has a lot of supporters who have implored him to run for Governor of Alabama.
“Of course, you generally can’t run for both,” Moore said of the Senate position. “I’ll probably see what the people want. I’m here to serve the people. That’s what I did as Chief Justice. That’s what I’ve always done, and what I’ll continue to do.”
CBS 42 asked Moore what he saw his potential impact being in the role of Governor.
“I understand a lot about state government, about the financial conditions,” Moore said. “I’ve been working with the courts, I’ve been working in the law, and I think we need to go back and understand what the law really says, and interpret the law as the courts, and as an executive–he should enforce the laws.”
However, Moore was also quick to identify faith among those top concerns.
“First priority, maybe to recognize that the source of our power, the source of our blessing come from God,” Moore said. “And I think that’s a very important part.”
Moore’s outspoken tendencies concerning his faith have drawn in supporters and further repelled his critics. He thinks people don’t understand his feelings about separation of church and state.
“I do believe in separation of church and state,but not separation of God and government,” Moore said. “You can’t do that. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states that: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
“In order words,” Moore continued, “the first part about religion says that Government can’t do anything with the way we worship God.”
When asked about other religions–and whether they are included under the First Amendment, Moore responded.
“The way they worship is outside of government. Government can’t tell you how to worship, but government can’t tell you, you can’t acknowledge God, and that’s the problem in our country,” Moore said. “They’re telling us that we can have all of these false religions but we can’t worship as Christians, and that’s a complete fallacy.”
Moore said he believes that lots of Americans feel as though they are being persecuted for their religious values.
“I think that’s exactly the source of a lot of the Trump support,” Moore said. “I think people are tired of politically correct living, and it doesn’t do them any good. You know? And that they’re tired of the healthcare, tired of immigration illegally, and they’re tired of a lot of things. They’re particularly tired of the courts running our country.”
Moore expressed over and over again that he, too, is particularly tired of the courts power across the country.
“We’re finding rights that are no where to be found in the Constitution,” Moore said. “When you make up rights, you can make up anything. Make up a right for a boy to go into a girl’s bathroom or a girl to go into a boy’s bathroom? In 2013 that was called a mental disorder when somebody wanted to be the opposite gender, and even today, you can’t change your gender. Science doesn’t allow that–there’s chromosomes involved. You can do things to your body, but you can’t change your gender and we’ve got to understand that. You can’t start letting what people think rule our right and wrong.”
Moore has made similar statements–particularly when he was suspended–that have elicited outrage from LGBTQ allies. The Human Rights Campaign hailed the Alabama Court of the Judiciary decision.
“Roy Moore has flagrantly and willfully attempted to block marriage equality at every turn in Alabama, using his position of power to push a personal, radically anti-LGBTQ agenda,” wrote Eva Kendrick, state manager for the HRC in Alabama.”We are thrilled that justice has been done today and he will no longer be able to use the bench to discriminate against people he had taken an oath to protect. Roy Moore’s bigoted rhetoric and unethical actions harmed LGBTQ Alabamians and emboldened those who would seek to hurt us further. We hope this is a turning point for our state. We must focus on electing politicians and judges who will move us forward, not backward.”
However, it’s likely that Moore’s life in politics isn’t over. Some polling experts have already listed him as a front runner for the Governor’s office.
“I think that you just have to wait until people vote,” Moore said. “Being a front runner now, and I appreciate that, I know I have a lot of supporters and a lot of people understand–not only do they know my name, they know what I stand for, and I appreciate that. I do stand for disregarding the politically correct ideas and going back to what’s truth and what’s right for the people.”
Moore said he will let God and the people decide when he is done with politics. If this is the end, he said he hopes that people will remember him as someone who loved God, his country, and the people of Alabama.