Court agrees to expedited decision in Moore appeal

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, suspended from his post for telling judges to defy US Supreme Court decision, continues his appeal. AP Photo, Brynn Anderson, File.

Montgomery, Ala. (AP) — Judges say they will quickly issue a decision on whether suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore can return to the bench.

A specially appointed appellate court last week granted Moore's request for an expedited decision in his appeal. The court canceled oral arguments that had been scheduled for April and will make the decision based on court filings.

A judicial discipline panel in September ruled that Moore directed probate judges to flout the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision on same-sex marriage. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary, the state panel that hears complaints against judges, suspended Moore for the remainder of his term.

The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission, which brought the accusations against Moore, did not object to fast-tracking the decision.

Moore is trying to win his position back after the ruling that he violated standards of judicial ethics with his actions regarding gay marriage.

His attorney argued Moore shouldn't have been removed and that the Court of the Judiciary exceeded its authority by suspending Moore for the remainder of his term.

"Chief Justice Moore did nothing wrong and should have never been charged. To allow a precedent that punishes Alabama judges based on political whims will completely undermine our system of justice," Moore's lawyer, Mat Staver said in a statement.

The Judicial Inquiry Commission, in a brief filed with the court, argued Moore's punishment should stand.  Lawyers for the commission said Moore urged probate judges to defy the federal courts by telling them they remained bound by a court order to deny marriage licenses to gay couples.

"This is a case is about the rule of law, and Chief Justice Moore's continued flouting of it," lawyers for the commission wrote.

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The Gayly – March 15, 2017 @ 7:35 a.m.