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  As originally enacted, that determination was not satisfied by asking the children on the first day of school to raise their hands if they were illegal immigrants.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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail