Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is in the midst of a six-day, 25-city swing through Iowa and he’s filing the paperwork today for an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign.
Moore, who is 64 years old, says his natural base of support will come from the Tea Party, from Christian voters and from voters who want to adhere to constitutional principles. Moore also expects to win support from Iowans who voted last fall to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had joined in the court’s unanimous 2009 ruling on gay marriage. “This is a natural group of people who want to stand for family values, want to stand for something that is so common sense it defies imagination — the marriage of one man and one woman,” Moore said. “…When judges start making up the law, they should be removed.”
Moore was in Iowa last summer, campaigning against the retention of those three Iowa Supreme Court justices. He was in Iowa earlier this year, serving as the keynote speaker at a statehouse rally organized by Iowans who want a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage here.
Moore says losing in the past two statewide elections in Alabama (see info below about those races) has no bearing on his ability to win a national race. “You don’t run by winning or losing. You don’t know many politicians that have not lost an election,” Moore said. “…Abraham Lincoln lost many elections…Ronald Reagan lost the first time he ran…for president….I’ve won elections. I became the first elected Republican judge in Etowah County in modern history and since then, no other (Republican) judge has been elected…And when I went to chief justice, I won without a run-off in the primary. Elections are just things that you run and, you know, take what the voters say, but I have had more of a national inclination…I’ve spoken for 15 years across the country and dealing with the Constitution of the United States and dealing with things that pertain to issues of constitutional import and so I think it’s time to bring those issues to light in a national debate.”
Moore opposes the Obama Administration’s move to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. military and the organization he now leads — The Foundation for Moral Law — filed a brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act. “Having served in the military…I know that homosexuality is not condusive to the military mission and I have no qualms about that. I’ve seen it and felt it and experienced it and we’ve got to wake up to reality, ” Moore said early in an interview with Radio Iowa (me) and The Des Moines Register this morning. “Common sense dictates this.”
Later, Moore was asked what he meant by having felt and experienced the impact of homosexuality in the military.
“You had mentioned that while you were in the military, you did experience some problems,” Jennifer Jacobs of The Des Moines Register said. “Can you describe that? What do you mean by that?”
Moore replied: “No, no, I didn’t say — I didn’t experience problems.”
“You witnessed some problems in the military?” Jacobs asked.
“With discipline, with homosexuality, with other things, yes –with the views of the military soldiers toward that,” Moore said.
“How their views somehow impeded the readiness of the military, is that what you mean?” Jacobs asked.
“Well, their acceptance of open homosexuality in the military was not there,” he said. “…Of course it’s always affected the military. It has affected the military since Washington excluded homosexuals out of the military back during his day.”
Moore is being escorted around the state by former state Representative Danny Carroll, a Republican from Grinnell who is a lobbyist for The Family Leader. Carroll supported former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Caucuses and was co-chair (along with Bob Vander Plaats) of Huckabee ’08 in Iowa.
“What impresses me and a lot of other people that we talk to — you hear a lot of people talk about the courage of their convictions, seldom do you find someone who is willing to sacrifice their position as the sitting chief justice of a state supreme court because he was asked by a higher authority to no longer acknowledge God,” Carroll said. “…He has demonstrated in real life actions the courage of his convictions. That’s impressive.”
In 2001 Moore drew national attention for installing a monument to the Ten Commandments in Alabama’s courthouse. A federal court ordered that monument removed. After Moore refused to do so, Alabama’s judicial ethics panel booted Moore from that state’s high court in 2003. Moore ran for governor of Alabama in 2006 and lost in the G.O.P. Primary and in 2010 he got about 19 percent of the vote in Alabama’s gubernatorial primary, finishing in fourth place.