MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The office of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has confirmed that Bentley interviewed suspended state Chief Justice Roy Moore for a potential congressional seat this week.
The seat would replace U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, who was selected by President-elect Donald Trump to serve in his cabinet as attorney general.
“He would consider it an honor if appointed to the office of U. S. Senate,” Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, told the Montgomery Advertiser.
Bentley spokesperson Yasamie August told the outlet that Moore was “one of the top picks” from a survey sent to the Alabama Republican Executive Committee, which consists of 400 members. The survey asked members last month to submit a nomination for Sessions’ seat.
“The person who replaces Senator Sessions must uphold the Constitution, value the rights of the Second Amendment, the rights of the states, support pro-life issues, implement a strong national security policy, support domestic job creation and, most importantly, always put Alabama first,” the instructions read.
In addition to Moore, Bentley interviewed seven others, including U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville; Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston; Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur; Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster; Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, and Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. House Ways and Means Education Chairman Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, was also interviewed as well.
After Bentley selects a replacement for Sessions, the matter will then go up for a public vote.
As previously reported, Moore is currently appealing his suspension from the Alabama Supreme Court for allegedly instructing probate judges not to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges.
Moore asserts that his memo was only a status update advising that his colleagues had not yet rescinded an order from March 2015 that prohibited judges from issuing the licenses. He says he specifically noted that his words did not weigh in on Obergefell.
“I am not at liberty to provide any guidance to Alabama probate judges on the effect of Obergefell on the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court. That issue remains before the entire court, which continues to deliberate on the matter,” Moore wrote on Jan. 6.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ) did not believe Moore and found him guilty of ethics charges, contending that he had told judges to act contrary to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. But because the COJ did not have the required unanimity to remove Moore from the bench, it therefore voted to suspend Moore for the remainder of his term.
Moore says that the punishment is wrongful as it was a crafty way to get around not having the mandated unanimity for removal.
“It’s a de facto removal,” he stated in October. “To have the Court of the Judiciary say that we can’t remove you because we didn’t have the votes, but we can suspend you for two-and-a-half years nearly (the rest of Moore’s term), that’s completely improper.”
“It has to be reversed for the sake of the judges and justices in our state or we’re going to warp the law and just let them skip over a unanimous vote for removal and say they can remove you for the rest of your term,” Moore opined.
This week, eight judges filed an amicus brief in support of Moore, echoing his sentiments about the suspension.
His case is expected to be heard next year by a special appeals court.