Roy S. Moore, the once-removed and currently-suspended chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has set his sights on another office: U.S. Senator.
“You know, before we can make America great again, we’ve got to make America good again,” Moore said Wednesday as he announced his candidacy at the Alabama State Capitol. “Our first president in his farewell address said it very simply, that virtue and morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”
“Our families are being crippled by divorce and abortion,” Moore added.
The 70-year-old jurist is known for both his hardline conservative views and his willingness to defy the rulings of higher courts. In 2003, Moore was removed from his post as Alabama’s chief justice after he refused to obey a federal court order to remove a monument featuring the Ten Commandments which Moore had erected in the rotunda of the state judicial building. After running unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 and 2010, Moore regained his old seat on the state’s top court in 2012, but was suspended last year after ordering the state’s probate judges to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A judiciary panel suspended Moore last September for the duration of his term, finding that his order — made in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling which effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide — violated judicial ethics.
Moore’s campaign website describes him as a “life-long Alabamian and committed, constitutional conservative that has stood up for liberty and religious freedom his entire career.” Despite being removed twice from the state’s highest court, the site repeatedly refers to him as “Judge Roy Moore” and prominently features his official state portrait in which he’s wearing judicial robes.
“Our nation was founded on the firm rock of conservative Christian values,” Moore said Wednesday. “Those values are worth fighting and sacrificing for, and no judge or government can take them away from us. It’s time to restore integrity and honor to our nation’s capital and our state’s leadership and that is why I am announcing my campaign for United States Senate.”
Moore joins what is expected to be a crowded Republican primary field for the special election, which is being held this year as a result of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions’ appointment as U.S. Attorney General. Former state attorney general Luther Strange, appointed to the vacancy by former Gov. Robert Bentley, is expected to contest the seat along with State Rep. Ed Henry and Christian activist Randy Brinson. Several other prominent Alabama Republicans have said they are considering a run.