Posts tagged Roy Moore

Mike Hubbard has been found guilty on multiple ethics charges

Mike Hubbard — formerly Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, Chair of the Alabama state Republican party, and representative of Alabama House district 79 (which includes most of the majority-white neighborhoods in Auburn) — has been found guilty on multiple ethics charges, and has been removed from office.

A Lee County jury of 12 citizens has found former Auburn Republican and Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard guilty of 12 felony charges of violating the state’s ethics law — the very same ethics law he was instrumental in passing.

After only a little more than seven hours, the jury reached a historic verdict in a four-year investigation into Hubbard’s use of his offices as both House speaker and chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.

After Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker read the jury’s convictions, Hubbard’s bond was set at $160,000. He later made bond and was released from the Lee County Justice Center’s jail. He snuck around journalists through a back entrance into a black Chevrolet Corvette parked in the grass.

After he entered the Corvette, Hubbard sped off through a field instead of using the parking lot, attempting to avoid journalists seeking comment.

–Chip Brownlee, Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard guilty
Auburn Plainsman (10 June 2016)

So that’s one branch of government down, two to go. So while we’re at it, let’s impeach the Governor. Also, of course, let’s re-remove Judge Roy Moore.

Impeach everybody. ¡Que se vayan todos!

Shared Article from theplainsman.com

Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard guilty - The Auburn Plainsman

Tweets by chpbrownlee

theplainsman.com


Delendus iterum est.

Good. Let’s re-impeach Judge Roy Moore.

For the second time in his career, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore faces charges before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary and potential removal from office.

Until that court hears and rules on those charges, Moore will be suspended with pay from his position atop the state’s highest court.

On Friday, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission forwarded charges to the commission, accusing the chief justice of violating judicial ethics in his opposition to same-sex marriage.

— Roy Moore suspended from office: Alabama chief justice faces removal over gay marriage stance

Shared Article from AL.com

Roy Moore suspended from office: Alabama chief justice faces rem…

Second time Moore has faced such charges

al.com


Abolish the Chief Justice. Impeach everybody. One branch down, two more to go.[1]

  1. [1]Roy Moore is (or, I hope, has been, was) Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Governor Robert Bentley, head of the executive branch of government in the state of Alabama, is currently facing possible impeachment proceedings in the Alabama legislature. Alabama Representative Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), Chair of the State GOP and Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, one of the most powerful men in the legislative branch, has been indicted on numerous ethics violations and is scheduled to go on trial in just over a week. Qué se vayan todos.

Impeach Everybody

Excellent. Bring it on. Let’s re-impeach Chief Justice Roy Moore.

. . . Moore insisted Wednesday that his hastily called news conference was merely an opportunity for him to address the many complaints against him and not an indication that charges from the Judicial Inquiry Commission were forthcoming.

However, a source familiar with Moore’s case said Tuesday that the JIC had completed its review and was in the process of bringing charges against the chief justice. It would be the second time such charges were brought – the first coming in 2003 when Moore defied a federal court order to remove a large Ten Commandments statue from the judicial building.

A complaint filed by Southern Poverty Law Center president Richard Cohen against Moore appears to be the primary focus of the JIC charges, according to the source. Cohen’s complaint was several pages long and provided exhibits detailing specific instances in which Cohen believed Moore violated certain canons of judicial ethics.

Moore and Staver dismissed Cohen’s complaint as politically motivated and quickly tied the SPLC to a known transvestite named Ambrosia Starling. Moore went a step farther while discussing Starling’s officiating of a mock same-sex wedding on the judicial building steps, saying that transsexualism is a known mental illness.

–Josh Moon, Moore: Judicial complaints are politically motivated
Montgomery Advertiser, 27 April 2016

And hell, while you’re at it, why not —

Let’s impeach the Governor, too. Come on, y’all only need 11 more signatures.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) – The Alabama House of Representatives voted to set up a process for impeachment, but added a rule that may have killed articles of impeachment currently pending in the legislative session.

House members voted 78 – 14 to approve a resolution introduced by Rep. Matt Fridy, a Montevallo Republican, to create a process to handle impeachment legislation.

The resolution empowers the House Judiciary Committee to begin an investigation when 21 House members bring impeachment charges. The committee could meet at any time, even when the legislature is not in session.

. . . The requirement of 21 House members to bring impeachment charges was an amendment during the debate. The initial resolution called for 10 members to bring charges. Raising the number of co-sponsors may kill a bill by Rep. Ed Henry, a Hartselle Republican.

Rep. Henry currently has 11 co-sponsors on a bill listing four articles of impeachment against Gov. Robert Bentley. Henry says Gov. Bentley should be impeached for willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency and moral turpitude.

–Rick Journey, Ala. House sets up impeachment process but may have killed current impeachment bill against Bentley
WBRC FOX 6 News, 26 April 2016

There are few outcomes I can imagine that would be even better than once again removing Roy Moore from office, and paralyzing the state legislature in months of scorched-earth intra-party power struggles. ¡Que se vayan todos! Let’s impeach everybody.

International Ignore the Constitution Day

So, it turns out that today is the 218th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. In honor of this formal declaration of intent to impose a centralized government over the people of the Americas, some gang of jerks in Washington have decided to declare today Constitution Day, and to celebrate the occasion with the following charming Spontaneous Demonstration:

Americans around the world will unite on Friday, September 16, 2005, in the simultaneous recitation of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. General Tommy Franks will lead the Preamble which has previously been led by President George Bush Sr., U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice of Alabama Roy Moore, and Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell. The celebration will begin at 11 AM Pacific/12 PM Mountain/1 PM Central/2 PM Eastern time.

Hawaii television and radio stations are urged to do a simultaneous broadcast and to reflect and discuss the significance of the Preamble. Newspapers are also urged to promote Constitution Day and to print the Preamble on September 16, 2005, and on September 17, 2005.

President George W. Bush signed a bill on December 8th, 2004 (public law 108-447) which designated every September 17th as Constitution Day.

— Hawaii Reporter 2005-09-15: Celebrating Constitution Day — September 17, 2005

Incidentally, thanks to Senator Robert Byrd, students and teachers in government-run schools will be forced to participate in this joyous nation-wide celebration of the federal government.

Therefore, the Ministry of Culture of this secessionist republic of one calls upon all sovereign individuals to celebrate International Ignore the Constitution Day on September 17th.

The Constitution, in its origins, was an act of naked usurpation: the imposition of a government on millions of sovereign individuals and all of their descendents. Many of those who were asked did not consent to it, and the vast majority of the population of the Americas at the time (who were by turns unpropertied, Black, Indian, and/or female) never were asked whether they wanted it or not. Certainly you have not, 218 years on, and neither do I. If I got together with a group of my buddies at the coffee-shop, wrote We are your Grand High Poo-bahs, and you must do as we say on a napkin, signed it at the bottom, and then (just to be sure you understood) scrawled This is a Constitution for the United States across the top, you would consider me a lunatic if I went around insisting that the napkin I was holding obligated you to do as I say. Yet in what relevant respect are the obligations imposed on us by the U. S. Constitution any different? Did a self-selected gang of ambitious delegates somehow gain the prerogative to impose a novel, centralized, invasive government on other people against their will–the same prerogative you would think I was crazy for asserting? If so, how did they get it? If they had some kind of right, under natural law, to impose a new order of government when they saw fit, then why don’t I have the authority to do the same, for myself, whenever I decide I don’t like what they set up? (Is it because they wore powdered wigs?) If neither they nor I have the right, under natural law, to impose a new order of government, then why do their written commands have any authority than the orders of a mafioso (which may be quite consistently enforced, but which few would consider themselves morally bound to obey)? If they did have the right to do so but only with the consent of the governed, then what obligation has the Constitution ever had over those who voted against ratification, or those who never were asked for their consent? (Which, today, means everybody.)

You might say that, however dubious the notion of the consent of the governed may be, in connection with the authority of the Constitution, still, the Constitution was a wise act of statecraft and it would be wise for us to go along with it no matter how much the moralists might scowl. But is it? Hardly. The Constitution today is read, by the powers that be, to authorize the monster State that today senselessly lies and murders tens or hundreds of thousands of people around the world, pushes starvation Drug War policies and murderous patent monopolies (the latter under the mantle of Free Trade!) at home and throughout the Third World, that now continually threatens women’s basic human rights over their own bodies, and much more — and, by the way, steals trillions of your hard-earned dollars to do it all. The highest legal authorities have ruled (and thus, made it the effective policy of the State) that the Constitution authorizes federal policies such as military tribunals, the military draft, and Japanese internment. Either the Constitution does authorize these abominations and more (in which case it is the handbook for a monster State) or else it failed to prevent them (in which case it is utterly useless even for its stated purpose of securing the blessings of liberty). In either case, it ought morally to be treated like a dead letter.

You might say, O.K., fine. I realize that the current federal government isn’t much to cheer for. But isn’t Constitution Day all about celebrating how it was in its origins? But that move will certainly not get you any further. In its origins the Constitution was a pro-slavery document, which authorized (indeed, demanded) federal laws for the capture and re-enslavement of fugitive slaves; it protected Southern slavery also by authorizing the the use of the federal military against slave uprisings — supporting Southern slavery with Northern bayonets. The Northern whites compromised with the Southern slave power: support for an invasive central State in return for the protection that such a central State could offer for slavery. It was, as William Lloyd Garrison declared it, a covenant with Death and an agreement with Hell, and he knew how to celebrate its achievements:

The [4th of July 1851] rally began with a prayer and a hymn. Then Garrison launched into one of the most controversial performances of his career. To-day, we are called to celebrate the seventy-eighth anniversary of American Independence. In what spirit? he asked, with what purpose? to what end? The Declaration of Independence had declared that all men are created equal … It is not a declaration of equality of property, bodily strength or beauty, intellectually or moral development, industrial or inventive powers, but equality of RIGHTS–not of one race, but of all races.

Massachussets Historical Society, July 2005

We have proved recreant to our own faith, false to our own standard, treacherous to the trust committed to our hands; so that, instead of helping to extend the blessings of freedom, we have mightily served the cause of tyranny throughout the world. Garrison then spoke about the prospects for the success of the revolutionary spirit within the nation, prospects he regarded as dismal because of the insatiable greed, boundless rapacity, and profligate disregard of justice prevalent at the time. He concluded his speech by asserting, Such is our condition, such are our prospects, as a people, on the 4th of July, 1854! Setting aside his manuscript, he told the assembly that he should now proceed to perform an action which would be the testimony of his own soul to all present, of the estimation in which he held the pro-slavery laws and deeds of the nation

— from Thoreau: Lecture 43, 4 July, 1854

Producing a copy of the Fugitive Slave Law, he set fire to it, and it burst to ashes. Using an old and well-known phrase, he said, And let all the people say, Amen; and a unanimous cheer and shout of Amen burst from the vast audience. In like manner, Mr. Garrison burned the decision of Edward G. Loring in the case of Anthony Burns, and the late charge of Judge Benjamin R. Curtis to the United States Grand Jury in reference to the treasonable assault upon the Court House for the rescue of the fugitive–the multitude ratifying the fiery immolation with shouts of applause. Then holding up the U.S. Constitution, he branded it as the source and parent of all the other atrocities,–“a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell,”–and consumed it to ashes on the spot, exclaiming, So perish all compromises with tyranny! And let all the people say, Amen! A tremendous shout of Amen! went up to heaven in ratification of the deed, mingled with a few hisses and wrathful exclamations from some who were evidently in a rowdyish state of mind, but who were at once cowed by the popular feeling.

–from The Liberator, 7 July 1854 (boldface added)

You, too, can celebrate Ignore the Constitution Day! Today, completely ignore all claims to authority granted in the Constitution. Live your life as if the Constitution had no more claim on you than the decrees of Emperor Norton. Enjoy your rights under natural law; you have them whether or not the Constitution says one mumbling word for them. While you’re at it, treat the Constitution as completely irrelevant in political arguments too; instead of complaining that unbridled war powers for the President are unconstitutional, for example, complain that they are evil; instead of reciting that damn Davy Crocket bed-time story again and complaining that government-controlled disaster relief is unconstitutional, complain that government-controlled disaster relief is foolish and deadly. (If the Constitution clearly authorized unilateral war powers for the President, or abusive and incompetant government-controlled disaster relief, would that make it okay?) And, hell, while you’re at it, quit complaining that forced Constitution Day celebrations may be unconstitutional; complain instead that they force children to participate in cultish praise for the written record of a naked usurpation.

Just go ahead. Ignore the Constitution for a day. See what happens. Who’s it gonna hurt? And if your political reasoning becomes sharper, your discourse no longer bogs down in a bunch of pseudo-legal mummeries, and you have a pleasant day without having to ask anybody’s permission for it, then I suggest you continue the celebration, tomorrow, and every day thereafter.

Further reading

Other national holidays:

The Founders really did intend for there to be a wall of separation between Church and State

Few groups of people in America today produce as much mythistorical bunk as the Religious Right, and few people are victimized by their distortions than the so-called Founding Fathers. In order to manufacture the unitary conservative Christian heritage for America that they pin their nationalist mythistory on, Christian fundamentalists routinely repeat cherry-picked quotes or outright fabrications in order to distort the religious views of the Founders. Another favorite target is the notion of separation between Church and State: the Religious Right has spent the past few decades trying to manufacture a historical-legal account on which (1) when the Founders wrote the First Amendment, they did not intend for it to enact anything like what we now call separation between Church and State, and (2) that this notion, completely alien to the Constitution, was invented by activist judges. Here, for example, is a typical presentation of the doctrine, by Stephen Erwin in The Rule of Law (2004-01-12):

Judge Moore held in his Eleventh Circuit Court appeal that the First Amendment bans any law respecting (regarding) an establishment of religion. The judge correctly points out that because of its no law language, the First Amendment proscribes only laws and his monument was not a law. The Eleventh Circuit totally failed to provide a reasonable explanation of how or why his position was wrong. Their only answer was to say that precedent (state decisis) requires separation of church and state and to express horror that if we adopted his position, the Chief Justice would be free to adorn the walls of the Alabama Supreme Court’s courtroom with sectarian religious murals and have decidedly religious quotations painted above the bench. Every government building could be topped with a cross, or a menorah, or a statue of Buddha, depending upon the views of the officials with authority over the premises. A crèche could occupy the place of honor in the lobby or rotunda of every municipal, county, state, and federal building.

These judges have completely forgotten that an independent and impartial judge is bound to interpret the law and let the legislature correct any problems that may result from a fair interpretation of that law. Political correctness is simply not within the official purview of our courts.

The separation of church and state is a concept that is not found anywhere in the Constitution. It is just one of many red t-shirts invented by our courts. And as long as we allow our imperial judiciary to ban red t-shirts there will be no legitimate rule of law.

Now, let’s set aside for a moment the non sequitur involved in the argument that the actions of a government employee funded by legislatively-appropriated tax dollars somehow sidestep the First Amendment’s concern with the laws passed by the legislature. There’s an argument to be had about the specifics of Roy Moore’s case, but that’s an argument I’ve already had elsewhere. What I want to focus on here is the historical-legal story underlying its application to the specific case; and for a Religious Rightist wanting to push some theocratic public display or another, it is a handy little historical-legal story indeed. For one, it allows the Rightist to construct a poignant tale of historical decline from our lofty origins. For two, it lets the myth-makers get into their favorite pose as myth-busters; many people do seem to be under the mistaken impression that the phrase separation between Church and State appears in the First Amendment, and the Religious Rightist can point out that it doesn’t. Finally, it their Constitutional prooftexting allows them to ascribe the last few decades of First Amendment case law entirely to the malign influence of Activist Judges, the most devious fiends in the Religious Right demonology. The problem is that the story is false on several points and deceptively selective on others.

Now, Erwin and other conservative Christians are right to point out that separation between Church and State is a phrase that does not appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, and never has. This is what the First Amendment actually says:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

What exactly mak[ing] no law respecting an establishment of religion means might not be entirely clear at first glance. One way to cash it out would be separation between Church and State. But that’s not necessarily the only possible interpretation of the text, and the Religious Rightist is right to want to know where this principle was introduced from, if judges are going to go around using it in their legal reasoning. But the problem is that, contrary to the claims of Erwin and other conservative Christians, the principle does not originate from some activist judge toiling to undo our national piety in the middle of the 20th century. The phrase comes from no less an authority on the founding documents than Thomas Jefferson, who explicitly offered it as his understanding of the First Amendment’s provisions in a letter to Danbury Baptist Church in 1802:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

–Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1 January 1802

(As a historical side-note, Jefferson’s letter was meant to reassure the Danbury Baptists that the Federal government had no power to regulate religious expression; the Baptists in America during the Founding generation were among the leading crusaders for complete separation of Church and State. Oh how things change in this fallen world!)

Of course, it’s true that Jefferson was not the author of the First Amendment. That’s true; but he did coin the phrase specifically to explain what he understood the First Amendment to mean. And it would be hard to say that Jefferson was not in at least as good, or better, of a position to know what the people who did write the First Amendment (including friends and colleagues such as James Madison) meant by it than Stephen Erwin, ex-Chief Justice Roy Moore, and others who decry the separation doctrine are. Furthermore, Jefferson was the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which the establishment clause and the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment were derived from. Whatever the merits or demerits of judicial activism may be, the wall of separation is not an example of it; it is a gloss of the First Amendment first introduced by one of the most prominent of the Founders, who was in a very good position to claim some authority on what the proper meaning of the First Amendment was.

Now there’s a second line of attack that some Religious Rightists have pushed (Alan Keyes, in particular), with a bit more justice: some have pointed out that the First Amendment explicitly restricts only Congress (meaning the Congress of the United States); and that even if the First Amendment did impose a wall of separation between Church and State in the federal government, it was not understood, by Jefferson or anyone else at the time, to have anything to say about how state governments could conduct their affairs. Yet most of the modern applications of the separation doctrine are rulings on state governments–e.g. on state laws requiring prayer in government schools or on the actions of state judges such as ex-Chief Justice Roy Moore. So how does the modern legal doctrine of separation relate at all to what Jefferson meant by the phrase?

Now let’s be straight: the fundamentalists are right that when the First Amendment was written, it was understood to constrain only the federal government. State governments were widely understood to have the right to establish churches and pass laws restricting the free exercise of religion. (Congregationalist Massachussetts, for example, had an established church from the adoption of the Constitution up to 1833.) But so what? For one, the much-lamented activist judges do not, and very obviously do not, enforce the separation doctrine on the states on the basis of the First Amendment alone. The legal reasoning behind decisions such as Engel v. Vitale was based on the First Amendment together with the Fourteenth Amendment, which says (among other things):

Amendment XIV

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

One plausible reading of the emphasized portion is that the Fourteenth Amendment extends the protections granted to citizens of the United States in the Bill of Rights to include protection from violations by state as well as the federal government. Maybe that reading of the Fourteenth Amendment is inaccurate; but if the Religious Right wants to make that claim they are going to have to give some substantive argument against it, rather than deceptively pointing to the text of the First Amendment, as if that were the only part of the Constitution in question.

In any case, whether the incorporation doctrine is a good reading of the Fourteenth Amendment or not, there is another point on which the Religious Rightists’ arguments here are deceptive. It’s true that Jefferson and his compatriots only understood the First Amendment to constrain the federal government. But the package-dealed suggestion that they didn’t have any problem with state-level breaches of the wall of separation is plainly false. Jefferson may have believed that the First Amendment only imposed a wall of separation between the church and the federal government, but that does not mean that he didn’t think that the same separation shouldn’t be effected elsewhere. Jefferson, for example, drafted the state law that disestablished the Anglican Church in Virginia and James Madison ensured that it would be passed by the state legislature. Several other states also disestablished their churches around the time of the Revolution; even the late hold-outs such as Massachussetts eventually concluded that separation was a doctrine whose time had come, and had eliminated the last vestiges of established churches in America by the early 19th century. Jefferson did not think that the wall of separation between Church and State was a merely legal principle; he and many of his fellow Founders thought it was a moral principle that ought to apply to every level of government whatever, and they actively campaigned to get it so applied. As he eloquently put it in the Virginia Statute:

That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness; and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry;

And though we well know that this assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act to be irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such act shall be an infringement of natural right.

Amen, brother.

The separation between Church and State was not a bit of judicial hokum cooked up in the head of some activist judge somewhere around 1962. The Founders really did intend for there to be a wall of separation between Church and State, and they did what they could to put the masonry up. Jefferson was wrong about many things in his life, but he was right about this.