Chief Jackass Roy Moore at it again…

As if pandering to the Christian nation crowd with a large granite monument of the Ten Commandments in the lobby of Alabama’s Supreme Court building wasn’t bad enough, now Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore thinks it’s a hell of an idea to follow in the footsteps of George Wallace and John Calhoun:

Late Sunday night, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order in which he instructs state probate judges to neither issue nor recognize a marriage license for same-sex couples.

The order states, “Effective immediately, no Probate Judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama Probate Judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with Article 1, Section 36.03, of the Alabama Constitution or § 30-1-19, Ala. Code 1975.”

Been there.  Done that.

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55 thoughts on “Chief Jackass Roy Moore at it again…

  1. I suspect that stuff like this is going to get worse before it gets better. Or it is at least going to heat up especially because 2016 is a Presidential election year. The hardcore social conservatives are going to want their red meat and pandering. We have already seen some right-wing Florida clerks fight tooth and nail in order not to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We have also seen Mike Huckabee* theorize about similar Calhounian techniques.

    I would say that history, jurisprudence, and time is on the side of those who favor LGBT-rights and Same-Sex Marriage but there is probably a sizable minority (or maybe a plurality) of hardcore unpersuadables left. The only thing that can probably get rid of this side is attrition.

    *This is going to reveal my geographic narrowness but I am surprised that Huckabees current red-meat campaign tactics. In 2014, it just seems silly to campaign on stuff like NYC women have too much freedom, too much swearing, too much drinking, complaining about Obama’s daughter wearing a Beyonce t-shirt, etc. I guess this plays differently in other parts of the country but how I would love to ask him “Does thou think because thou art virtuous that there shall be no more cakes and ale?”

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    • We have already seen some right-wing Florida clerks fight tooth and nail in order not to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We have also seen Mike Huckabee* theorize about similar Calhounian techniques.

      What’s amusing about that is that I’ve probably forgotten more about Calhoun’s theories and the underlying states rights arguments than the people that invoke them know. It’s also a reason why I shake my head every time I hear the cry of state sovereignty. I guess they don’t realize that the same arguments that support a state’s right to ignore the federal courts also support a state’s right to lawfully secede. I can argue against that position backwards, forwards and in my sleep without using the Civil War or the post Civil War Supreme Court jurisprudence to make my case.

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      • I prefer to think of him as Taliban Mike or Malvolio Mike and you are right that it is just as much about the geographic narrowness of his base and probably a good deal of hypocrisy. I am not a fan of cursing for the sake of cursing and having Fuck be every other word in a person otters but it seems weird that cursing can rally a base. Just what do they think of the big city?

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      • Saul, plenty of rural conservative folks have hated and feared “the big city” for generations. It is a perfect twin to the city folk snobbery at rural types. Yin and Yang flavored snobberies.

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    • I think its more like Wallace than Calhoun. “Homophobia now, homophobia tomorro, homophobia forever.” They are using the same techniques used to resist civil rights legilsation and decisions.

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      • Remember how the government shutdown was a big issue in the last congressional election?

        The timing on this is the same. SCOTUS is going to provide a definitive ruling late spring /early summer, and then Moore and his ilk* won’t even have the fig leaf this still being an active issue in the court system. We’re going to be over 6 months into this being a fait accompli by the time Iowans and New Hamshirites actually do cast a vote in the 2016 Presidential contest, and by then, there will be an entirely different set of talking points and hot button issues.

        *I don’t think Thomas and Alito are wrong, actually, in their dissent from the denial of the stay. (that is, they wanted to grant the Alabama AG’s motion to stay the federal court ruling that Moore is taking the path of massive resistance on). They have a point that in an active case before the Supreme court, the active consequences are usually delayed (in this case, marriage licenses) until the Supreme Court makes their final ruling.

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      • I agree with your points here Kolohe but I was talking less principle and more politics. If Moore and his ilk get traction and start generating heat on the subject on the right it could become an issue during the GOP nomination process which is starting to get under way now and will be in full fling when the courts move on it. There’s nothing Dems would like more than for the GOP to bring the subject up. I do think that the GOP establishment is thoroughly over the subject and will try to put it to bed of course but they have to do so in a way that doesn’t discourage the true believers from voting.

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      • I agree with your point, but I see the Court’s action as less a slap aimed at Alabama than one aimed at the Sixth Circuit. As in, “There isn’t really an active case, we’re just going through the motions because those idiots in the Sixth Circuit don’t seem to be smart enough to understand the clear message we sent.”

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      • I am talking about the politics. The peeps that spoke at King’s Iowa summit a couple a weeks ago generally avoided the subject. Moore is relatively a fringe player in the big picture of GOP power structure and even in its ideological makeup increasingly toward the edge. This issue isn’t going to get traction other than a brief spin up right when the Scotus decision comes down. Then over a year will pass until the Republican convention. It will be a done deal – and its sufficiently different than abortion (politically) to generate a similar semi-permanent movement against the decision (which took nearly a decade to be in position to influence things)

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      • Thomas and Scalia, yes?

        Their dissent made some sense, but I still had to laugh at Mr. Of Course I Help My Wife Lobby and Mr. Bomb Thrower tsk-tsking that the Court is acting with lack of decorum.

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  2. This is a textbook example of the illiberal problem in a democracy. Same-sex marriage makes ethically, legally, and philosophically to most people on this blog. It does not make any sense to the people of Alabama, who decided to add anti-same sex marriage amendments to the Alabaman constitution in 2006. It doesn’t matter that these provisions have been held to violate the federal constitution, they are going to fight against same-sex marriage like they fought against civil rights for African-Americans, although they don’t seem to have quite the same spirit that they did in the mid-20th century. You can’t force philosophical liberalism on a population that doesn’t want it. Yet you can’t let them impose thier illiberal mores on society either.

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    • Actually it’s only being “imposed’ on the people who live in that state. And by “imposed” I mean, through democracy and the vote, so this is what the majority state population wants.

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      • Well, for over a century the majority of Alabama also didn’t want black people to be able to vote, eat at the same restaurants as white people, use the same transportation as white people, have any physical security, or attain economic success, either. And for several centuries before that the majority of Alabama didn’t want black people to have any rights whatsoever, including liberty or life.

        That’s why freedom has to mean a little bit more than just “majority rule”.

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      • Gee, “majority rule” is pretty much the definition of democracy, but that wasn’t my exact point. The point is that that there is a large contingent, on this site and in this country, where it’s “democracy prevailed” when their side won some debate or election, and it’s “a failure of democracy” when that same side lost some argument or election.

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      • The point is that that there is a large contingent, on this site and in this country, where it’s “democracy prevailed” when their side won some debate or election, and it’s “a failure of democracy” when that same side lost some argument or election.

        Don’t forget to mention Supreme Court cases. The doctrine of “judicial restraint” has been defended by both conservatives and liberals.

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      • “Judicial restraint” and “federalism” both mean “I hate it when my side loses”.

        Yep, and I heard almost as much of that after Lawrence v Texas as I did Heller and Citizens United, although I don’t think I’ve ever seen liberals champion federalism. It doesn’t seem like your cup of tea.

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      • Federalism, which was rooted in the notion of state sovereignty (non-existent today), and the doctrine of states rights developed in the mid 19th Century and invoked by people like George Wallace and Roy Moore rest on very different philosophical foundations (dare I say metaphysical foundations).

        I would never expect you to support states rights, nor should you expect me to do the same. Ever. Frankly, it’s a perversion of our federalist system. However, if we wanted to have a conversation about, say, the anti-commandeering doctrine, we should be able to do that without invoking the doctrine of states rights.

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    • “You can’t force philosophical liberalism on a population that doesn’t want it. Yet you can’t let them impose thier illiberal mores on society either.”

      Geez, I think you sat down in my camp. How do you take your coffee?

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  3. Special congratulations to Dinah McCaryer and Olanda Smith, the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Alabama, with the ceremony completed only minutes after SCOTUS declined to grant a stay to the SSM order applicable to that state, earlier this morning.

    But also special props to Judge Michael G. Graffeo of the Tenth Circuit Court of Alabama in Birmingham, who presided over the ceremony and signed the order, impliedly telling Chief Justice Moore where he stands in the hierarchy of binding orders: below that of the Federal court which issued the order in the first place. Judge Graffeo may well be picking a fight with Chief Justice Moore, but he has at least one colleague on his side: Judge Alan L. King of the Alabama Probate Court in and for the County of Jefferson, who offers both a normative and a legal analysis to explain why he was preparing to spend the day ignoring Justice Moore’s order in a courtroom festooned with festive balloons:

    At the end of the day, it’s still a very simple legal analysis: You’ve got a federal court order. … This is a happy day for all of these couples, and if you can’t be happy for people, then I’m sorry. If someone can’t understand the joy and happiness of others, then I don’t know what else I can say.

    It’s a happy day for Alabama. Maybe not so happy for Alabama’s Chief Justice, but that makes him of him.

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  4. Thomas and Scalia complained that the Court didn’t show ” “the people of Alabama the respect they deserve.” Apparently they aren’t familiar with the people of Alabama.

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  5. Sad to see the title of this thread when hear about civil discourse from liberals all the time. I doubt we would see a similarly titled thread about a liberal.

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