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Alabama Justices Recuse with an Odd Twist

Contact: Liberty Counsel, 800-671-1776, Media@LC.org, Press Kit 
MONTGOMERY, Ala., Oct. 25, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Alabama Supreme Court Justices have recused themselves from hearing the appeal of Chief Justice Roy Moore. But in a 5-3 vote, the majority decided to allow Acting Chief Justice Lynn Stuart to work with the Governor to randomly select seven "retired" judges from a pool of 50 judges. The three dissenting justices argued that the judges should be accountable to the public and having a panel of all "retired" judges means they would not be accountable. They dissented from the part of the opinion that states that the replacement judges will be selected only from "retired" judges.

Chief Justice Moore had filed a motion to recuse four of the five justices in the majority opinion. These include Lynn Stuart, Michael Bolin, James, Main and Greg Shaw. Moore argued that Justice Stuart should play no role in selecting replacement judges due to conflict of interest, and further argued that a judge who is disqualified from acting cannot be the one to appoint a replacement.

The majority opinion also states that the current justices will continue to act until such time as a replacement panel is seated.

"Chief Justice Moore is merely asking for the same thing any citizen is entitled to receive – equal justice under the law. He wants his case to be heard by an objective and fair panel of judges who will adhere to the rule of law," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "The people of Alabama have increasingly called upon their judges to be accountable. At every turn, this case presents new twists and turns that have never occurred in the history of Alabama. Never has there been a requirement that replacement judges all be retired. We hope this case moves quickly to a final and just resolution. The Court of the Judiciary violated the law when it suspended Chief Justice Moore for life even though it lacked the 9-0 vote. Never before under the unanimity requirement of COJ Rule 16 has any judge ever been suspended for the rest of the term. A sexting judge gets six months and a judge who writes a four-page order that is not unethical or unlawful gets suspended for life. This is not right," said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.