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Alabama Chief Justice Suspended For Blocking Same-Sex Marriage In The State

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2016 file photo, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore speaks to the media during a news conference in Montgomery, Ala. Moore appeared before a judicial discipline panel Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, to answer accusations that he tried to block gay couples from marrying in the Deep South state. The outspoken Republican jurist could be removed from office for the second time in 13 years if the Court of the Judiciary finds he violated the state's canons of judicial ethics. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

Roy Moore, the Alabama Supreme Court’s chief justice, has been suspended for the remainder of his term as punishment for instructing state judges to flout federal orders legalizing same-sex marriage, a state court ruled Friday.

Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary, which was responsible for handling the ethics charges against Moore, stopped short of removing him from the bench entirely. But suspending Moore for the remainder of his term, which lasts through the end of 2018, effectively accomplishes the same thing because it prevents him from presiding over cases and denies him pay for that period. Moore’s removal required unanimity from the Court of the Judiciary’s members.

The decision came after a brief trial on Wednesday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group that first filed ethics complaints against Moore for his January administrative rulingencouraging state probate judges to defy federal orders, celebrated the judgment on Friday.

“The Court of the Judiciary has done a tremendous service to the people of Alabama by stripping him of his judicial power,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said. “He clearly did not understand the difference between being a judge  and being a preacher.”

“Good riddance to the Ayatollah of Alabama,” Cohen added.

Moore’s attorney, Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel firm, argued that removing Moore from the bench in all but name violates the court’s own rule requiring unanimity for removal.

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