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Alabama Chief Justice Stands Trial For Blocking Same-Sex Marriage

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore speaks to the media during a news conference in Montgomery, Ala., on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. He is accused of breaking judicial ethics during the fight over same-sex marriage in the state. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary tried Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore on Wednesday for violating ethics when he ordered state judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. If the court finds Moore liable, it could remove him from the state Supreme Court for the second time in his career.

Moore stands accused of ordering Alabama probate judges to defy a federal injunction in violation of his ethical duties as Alabama’s top judge.

Expelling Moore would require unanimity from the special court’s nine judges, while a simple majority could enact more modest punishments. The court will announce its decision within 10 days.

The chief justice effectively admitted to the charges against him in his testimony on Wednesday, according to Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a Montgomery-based civil rights group that submitted the original complaints against Moore.

“Roy Moore’s own words convicted him,” Cohen said. “I wish everyone in Alabama could have been in the courtroom to hear him.”

Liberty Counsel, the law firm that defended Kim Davis, an anti-same-sex marriage county clerk in Kentucky, is representing Moore in court.

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, said he was “very pleased with how the case went today.”

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