MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)–Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore will be suspended from his position for 10 days, pending the outcome of an ethics complaint for refusing to follow a federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments monument he ordered installed in the Alabama judicial building in 2001.
Moore was automatically suspended with pay Aug. 22 when the nine-member Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission referred an ethics complaint against Moore to the Court of the Judiciary, which holds trial-like proceedings and can discipline and remove judges.
Moore will have 30 days to respond to the complaint, one of the clerks who works with the Court of the Judiciary told Fox News. Moore had no immediate comment; a spokesman, Tom Parker, told Fox the judge’s attorneys would respond to the complaint Aug. 25.
Moore has been steadfast in his refusal to remove the 5,300-pound Ten Commandments monument, missing the Aug. 20 deadline given by federal Judge Myron Thompson.
Although the monument remained in the rotunda of the state judicial building Aug. 22, it had been ordered removed by a vote of Moore’s associate justices the day before. The justices ordered the monument removed “as soon as practicable.”
Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor said the monument would be moved “very soon.” Demonstrators were still outside the building Aug. 22, hoping to prevent its removal by peaceful means.
During the Aug. 22 hearing before the Judicial Inquiry Commission, one of Moore’s attorney’s, Philip Jauregui, told the Montgomery Advertiser that he had argued, “The charges before this commission can be answered at once by referring to the rule of the case.”
“The rule is the rule of law … and the law in this case is the First Amendment,” Jauregui said.
Jauregui further told the newspaper that Moore’s “placement of the monument in the Alabama Judicial Building is not a law respecting an establishment of religion…. It doesn’t matter if a million federal judges say it is.”
The Associated Press, meanwhile, reported that Moore said he told the commission that he was upholding his oath of office in acknowledging God.
The media was not allowed in the meeting.
Meanwhile, lawyers who sued for the monument’s removal said Aug. 22 they would not file to have Moore held in contempt of court.
“Our concern all along has been compliance with the Constitution. Once the monument has been removed, our concerns will have been addressed,” lawyer Ayesha Khan said, according to MSNBC.com