Most judges respect the rule of law, and even when they try to distort the law to justify decisions they respect the process of appeal. Not so with the GOP nominee Roy Moore. He was properly removed from the bench twice for misconduct – specifically by contemptuously ignoring rulings by the Supreme Court and encouraging other judges and law enforcement agencies to do the same. Although he claims to be following a “higher law” (meaning his interpretation of the word of god), he is proven to be a lawless judge. The likely newest member of the U.S. Senate next year, in fact, rues the law and the Constitution.
Men like Moore seem like caricatures – an amalgam of all the bigoted believes of the antebellum South, but he is not – and his election win in Alabama proves it. You might think that some of his beliefs reflect either the ravages of dementia or some parody of a slave owning Baptist minister, but they are not. He is an unapologetic bigot. Some of his publicly stated beliefs, which include the death penalty for homosexual behavior, banning any public prayers that are not “Christian”, banning American citizens who are Muslims for elected office, would seem to rule him out of any election. It is hard to accept his winning the nomination because the only logical conclusion is that the GOP base in Alabama endorses bigotry. What is even more disturbing is likelihood that he will be win in the statewide election.
Some Republicans will justify their vote for Moore as a vote against the GOP Establishment, as the Rasputin of politics Steve Bannon positioned the race. However, it is inescapable that a vote for Moore is an endorsement of a very bigoted form of religion over the rule of law and the Constitution. A vote for a Democrat would be a rebuke of the GOP, but a vote for Moore is a vote for bigotry. Moore has been clear that his election will be a license to establish “god’s law” over the rule of law. I’ve started to accept the idea that 30% of America is lost in a wilderness of fear and alt.facts, but I’m not sure I could ever accept the idea that a man like that could become a Senator from any state, including Alabama. I mean, Sessions was bad enough, but he was a closet bigot (and something else too). One hesitates to use the phrase “out of the closet” for Moore, but he is as open as can be about his bigotry. Maybe this represents a continuation of the same process unleashed by the election of Trump. Maybe Trump was elected because he said bigoted things and not despite it. Maybe this is a large part of Alabama coming out of its closet and grasping for the glory days of Jim Crow.
I guess we will know next year.