After the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of equal marriage back in 2015, Alabama's Chief Justice Roy Moore tried to actively disregard the rulings - issuing a number of spurious judicial orders to officials in a brazen attempt to re-ban gay weddings. "I know I share the vision of our President Donald Trump to make America great again...."
The U.S. Senate seat is now held by former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. "Our sacred institution of marriage has being destroyed by the Supreme Court", Moore said.
In December, Bentley reportedly interviewed Moore to assume the seat held by Sessions. He called the order unlawful, saying he had a right to "acknowledge God". In 2012, though, after a brief feint toward a Republican presidential run, he made a triumphal return to the state Supreme Court, being elected chief justice again.
Moore said he has submitted his papers to resign from the state Supreme Court, a position he was suspended from for the remainder of his term. After running unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 and 2010, Moore regained his old seat on the state's top court in 2012, but was suspended a year ago after ordering the state's probate judges to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In addition to naming Stuart chief justice, Ivey will now be able to appoint a new associate justice to give Alabama's highest court its full nine members. He first drew national attention as a circuit judge in the 1990s's after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged his practice of opening court with prayer and hanging a Ten Commandments sign in his circuit. "And I believe our courts are the battleground for our God-given rights as free people".
Moore has been a divisive figure inside and outside of Alabama. After a West Point education and some odd experiences as a kickboxer and an Australian cowboy, Moore settled into a reasonably quiet legal and judicial career in eastern Alabama.
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The GOP Senate field includes incumbent Luther Strange; Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle and former Christian Coalition of Alabama chairman Randy Brinson. And now Moore will take his virtually universal name recognition and his hard-core Christian-right base of support into a low-turnout multicandidate Senate race where nearly anything can happen.
Following complaints, the Judicial Inquiry Commission filed charges against Moore last May, leading to his automatic suspension from the bench.
While Moore is best known for his religious stances, he's also been an outspoken advocate of sentencing reform. She raised $1.6 million for her re-election campaign in 2006, with business groups again making large contributions.
Moore lost his appeal of his removal and says he's now a candidate for U.S. Senate.
The primary vote is August 15.