We’ve caught Moore’s act before, and it ended badly. Candidate Moore wears his religious faith on his sleeve. In a state populated with like-minded conservative Christians, an impartial observer might see Moore as a shoo-in for just about any office he sought. That’s not the case, however. Moore has turned faith from a personal matter into a mission to use the apparatus of government to foist his own religious views onto the public.
In his unusual twist on the nation’s founding, Moore doesn’t see a nation built on the freedom to worship (or not worship at all) in a manner of a citizen’s choosing. Instead, Moore saw in his role as chief justice a requirement to “acknowledge God.” Got that? Placing a 5,000-pound monument to the Ten Commands in the state’s top judicial building wasn’t an option. It was necessary, meaning under his logic all Alabama chief justices before him and all after him have fallen down on the job.
In 2003, a federal court ruled that Chief Justice Moore had overstepped his authority by installing the Ten Commandments monument. It ordered it be removed. Moore’s defiance of that order called to mind actions by other Alabama demagogues. It also eventually got him booted from his post as chief justice by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
Once again, bad publicity fell upon this state. Once again, a nation scorned Alabama for electing a rogue. Once again, a sideshow distracted us from real progress.
Having run unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 and president in 2008, Moore is back before voters, hoping this time to regain his old job.
Perhaps he’s betting that voters will forget the shame he brought on this state nine years ago. We shouldn’t.
Moore’s opponent is Bob Vance, a Jefferson County circuit court judge. Vance comes with stellar credentials and a solid resume of achievement. Vance’s name might be familiar to some in Alabama; he is the son of Robert Smith Vance, a Birmingham federal judge killed by a terrorist’s mail bomb in 1989.
Vance brings impressive credentials to the table, yet the most important factor in this race is that there’s nothing in his background indicating he will subject the state to the sort of arrogant grandstanding we’ve seen from Moore. That alone is enough to persuade this page to recommend Bob Vance to become chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.