Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Return of Judge Roy Moore

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

It’s hard to keep Alabama out of the news.  Two of its recent newsworthy events deserve attention.  The first is its attempt to improve on the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, a 76-page statutory creation as remarkable for its length as for its content that was designed to rid the state of illegal immigrants.

As drafted, the Act prohibits anyone from giving an illegal immigrant a ride to church (or any other place for that matter).  In addition, illegal aliens may “not be permitted to enroll in or attend any public postsecondary education institution.” Both of those provisions, among some others, were blocked by a federal court whose decision is being appealed.   The proposed revisions slightly soften some of the harsher provisions.  Among those softened is the protocol to be followed when a law enforcement officer stops someone.  Whereas the original legislation required a law enforcement officer to determine the immigration status of anyone stopped by the law enforcement officer for any reason, the determination is now only required if a person is “lawfully arrested or is issued a traffic citation. . . .” Mysteriously, the amendment adds a provision that says when an arrest or citation is issued to the driver, the officer may also inquire as to the citizenship of everyone else in the car even though none of them has been issued a citation or been arrested.  Someone smarter than I can explain the logic of that.

Another change is to the provision that requires that schools determine the citizenship status of all children when they enroll.  As originally enacted, that determination was not satisfied by asking the children on the first day of school to raise their hands if they were illegal immigrants.  The law required proof of the child’s status together with detailed provisions.  All those will be replaced by a requirement that the Alabama State Department of Education “compile a report that calculates the estimated annual fiscal impact of providing free public educational services to those Alabama public school students who are the children of, or in the custody and control of, aliens believed to be unlawfully present in the United States.”   A student of the legislation could be forgiven for failing to understand how the State Department of Education can figure out the “annual fiscal impact to the state” of educating illegal immigrants without finding out who is and is not an illegal immigrant.  Lest the illegal aliens become nervous, however, the legislation tells them they need not be.  It specifically says that:  “Under no circumstance does the Legislature intend to deny anyone the opportunity to receive a free public education in Alabama’s public educational system.  Nor does the Legislature intend for the provisions of this section to discourage anyone from accessing a free public education in Alabama’s public educational system.”  There are a number of other changes made but since the Bill is now 83 pages long those who want more information should read it for themselves.  The other event of significance is the return to the judicial scene in Alabama of Roy Moore.  Roy is the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Roy first gained notoriety  in 1997 when he was a state circuit court judge.  In his courtroom he hung a hand-carved wooden plaque of the Ten Commandments because, one assumes, he could not remember what they said without prompting from the plaque.  He refused a higher court’s order to remove the plaque and then-Governor, Fob James, said he would call out the national guard, if necessary, to prevent the removal of the plaque.  The plaque remained.   In 2001, Judge Moore was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.  Within 6 months of his election he supervised the construction and installation of a 5,280-pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments in the central rotunda of the State Judicial Building.  The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling ordering removal of the monument.  When Chief Justice Moore  refused, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed him.  The monument left the rotunda and was placed in a back room. That was in 2003.

The news from Alabama in March that accompanies revisions to the immigration bill is that unless the unexpected happens, Roy will soon once again be the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, having won the Republican primary in that state.  Jurisprudence in Alabama has lots to look forward to.  During his prior tenure he wrote a concurring Alabama Supreme Court opinion in a custody battle involving a lesbian mother in which he said that homosexuality is “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God. ” Homosexuals in Alabama were “presumptively unfit to have custody of minor children.”

It is too soon to say whether or not Roy will be elected.  His opponent is Harry Lyon, a criminal defense lawyer who has reportedly unsuccessfully  run for office 10 times.  He is also said to have once publicly joked that illegal immigrants should be publicly executed.  Were that to become Alabama law the Beason Hammon Act would be superfluous. Whichever candidate becomes the new Chief Justice Alabamans won’t have much to brag about.

Christopher Brauchli can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]