Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

State’s Rights vs Federal Courts … 2015 version

From Alabama:

Roy Moore and his big stones

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore standing in the courthouse door (editorial opinion from

Almost 52 years ago Gov. George Wallace made his infamous stand in the schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama to block two black students from registering for classes.

It was really all for show. Wallace knew he had no authority to stop the students. The federal courts had ruled that the time had come to integrate UA […]

… last night Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered all probate judges not to follow the federal order and instead continue to enforce the state’s ban against same sex marriage. Moore threatened that any probate judge carrying out the federal court order could be impeached …

He is trying to stand in the courthouse door as surely as Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door. Shame on him.[…]

What happens next? I don’t know. Moore is standing in the courthouse door. He represents the old days, the days of fear and misunderstanding and the denial of equal rights.

Bentley will gather with his lawyers today to mull his options.

I hope the governor will follow his instincts and remember to be the governor of all the people, something Wallace forgot.

From the Supreme Court of the United States:

[The ] Supreme Court denied Alabama’s request to put same-sex marriages on hold pending the appeal of two cases.

Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia dissented, writing, “Today’s decision represents yet another example of this Court’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward the States. Over the past few months, the Court has repeatedly denied stays of lower court judgments enjoining the enforcement of state laws on questionable constitutional grounds.

Justice Clarence Thomas, a black American who benefited from the civil rights battles of the 1960s, giving cover to this century’s states righters.  

More below the fold …

NY Times:

BREAKING NEWS Monday, February 9, 2015 9:45 AM EST

U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Stop Same-Sex Marriages in Alabama

The United States Supreme Court said early Monday that it would not stop same-sex marriages in Alabama, as gay couples gathered outside courthouses across the state.

Justices on Monday morning denied a request by the Alabama attorney general to extend a hold on a judge’s ruling overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage. The attorney general, Luther Strange, had asked the Supreme Court to halt the weddings until the justices settle the issue nationwide when they take it up this year.

Judge Callie V. S. Granade of Federal District Court ruled in January that the Alabama ban was unconstitutional, but she put a hold on her order until Monday to give the state time to appeal. Gay couples are lining up at courthouses seeking marriage licenses.

But in a dramatic show of defiance toward the federal judiciary, Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court on Sunday night ordered the state’s probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on Monday.

According to reports early Monday, probate judges in Birmingham and Montgomery had defied Chief Justice Moore and were issuing licenses.


Updates from Same-sex couples get licenses in Alabama: Live updates from across the state

8:44 a.m. Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister has decided to not issue any marriage licenses due to conflicting orders from the federal judge and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

8:30 a.m. Bibb County Probate Judge Jerry Pow said he is not issuing marriage licenses to any couples this morning. When asked why, he said: “I don’t know whether I want to defy the Chief justice of the state Supreme Court or a federal judge.”

8:30 a.m. And the marriages begin, in Jefferson County.

Madison Underwood @MadisonU

One of the first couples to get married – Olanda Smith and Dianah McCaryeo

8:32 AM – 9 Feb 2015 Birmingham, AL, United States

Chief Justice Roy Moore’s “decree”:

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore sent a letter to probate judges ordering them to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses when the courts open for business Monday. Moore wrote that the judges weren’t bound by a federal judge’s ruling Jan. 23 that the marriage ban was unconstitutional.

“Effective immediately, no probate judge of the state of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with (the Alabama Constitution),” Moore wrote.

Still fighting against that pesky Northern Aggression.  


  1. In the meantime, the civil rights battles of the last century (and the Civil War of the century before) continue to be waged in places where intolerance is given official sanction.

  2. 12:32 p.m. Calhoun County Probate Judge Alice Martin: Feb. 9, 2015 Calhoun County Probate Judge Alice Martin explains to couple why she cannot issue marriage licenses Monday morning, Feb. 9, 2015 in Anniston, Ala.

  3. [R]ather than treat like applicants alike, the Court looks the other way as yet another Federal District Judge casts aside state laws without making any effort to preserve the status quo pending the Court’s resolution of a constitutional question it left open in United States v. Windsor, 570 U. S. ___ (2013) (slip op., at 25-26). This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the Court’s intended resolution of that question. This is not the proper way to discharge our Article III responsibilities. And, it is indecorous for this Court to pretend that it is.

    As Ed Kilgore said over at Washington Monthly, this is simply Thomas being peeved that the court won’t let Alabama discriminate for a few more months. Maybe it is Thomas being indecorous by suggesting that people wait for fair treatment when it is within the power of the court to grant it immediately.

  4. Diana in NoVa

    Heh, heh.

    As to the behavior of Alabama judges–stupidity upsets my stomach. Gad, how can anyone live in the South? I did, long ago.To me, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are the South because of the racism and stupidity to be found there. Oh, and the religiosity, which is sickening.

    Why can’t “the stones” fall on old Roy Moore’s head? They might knock some sense into it. Love is love, and as Portlaw said, if anyone is lucky enough to find it, they should rejoice. And people should let them rejoice.

  5. Diana in NoVa

    in the days when he was working for the county.

    Yep, Thomas is one flaming hypocrite all right. Ralph Nader did this country an enormous disservice by keeping Gore from winning decisively and thereby allowing the Smirking Chimp in the White House to pick five conservative gits for the Supreme Court.

    I just don’t get these people and what Patrick Dennis called their “genteel, stone-deaf god.”

  6. From the SPLC

    In a latest attempt to capitalize on political and racial controversy, a Ku Klux Klan faction from Mississippi has initiated a “Call to arms in Alabama” in response to federal courts ruling that an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

    The post, which appeared on the United Dixie White Knights’ (UDWK) website and later on Stormfront – the largest online white supremacist forum – championed Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore for defying federal courts and called for Klansmen to leave their robes behind and take to the streets in protest.

    “The Mississippi Klan salutes Alabama’s chief justice Roy Moore, for refusing to bow to the yoke of Federal tyranny,” Brent Waller, the UDKW’s imperial wizard, wrote in a Stormfront post. “[unkind phrase redacted] from Hollywood and all major news networks are in shock that the good people from the heart of Dixie are resisting their Imperialist, Communist Homosexual agenda!”

    The Heart of Dixie, indeed! Still fighting the Civil War.

  7. Roy Moore Says Even The US Supreme Court Can’t Make Same-Sex Marriage Legal

    The Chief Justice tried to claim that probate judges are not bound by a federal court’s ruling, but Halperin, a political reporter for over two decades, asked Moore, “Can you explain what the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution means to you then?”

    Moore proceeded to recite it from memory.

    He then claimed that the state judiciary and federal judiciary are equal, which is not what the Supremacy Clause says. Moore proceeded to recite from cherry-picked cases opinions that he seemed to believe support his claim. […]

    Asked directly what he will do if the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, Moore said, “I do not allow gay marriage anywhere.”

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