Attorneys for former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore argued Wednesday that the federal court order Moore disobeyed is itself unethical.
The seven retired judges assigned to hear Moore's appeal listened to arguments from Moore's attorney Phillip Jauregai that Moore's oath of office had bound him to follow the constitution and acknowledge God.
The state attorney general's office, however, told the court that Moore's argument would lead to anarchy.
The judges hearing the case have the luxury of knowing they won't become election day targets if activists disagree with their ruling. Moore's defenders say the absence of voting booth accountability is one reason they objected to the selection process in which retired judges' names were drawn at random to form the stand-in supreme court.
The eight elected justices of the Alabama Supreme Court stepped down from hearing the appeal because they voted in August to follow a federal court order to remove Moore's Ten Commandments monument from the State Judicial Building rotunda, after Moore refused to remove the 5,300 pound monument. Moore's legal team contends a different method should have been used to hear his appeal.
Christian activists have vowed to unseat the associate justices, as well as judges who were on an ethics panel that voted to expel Moore from office in November.
The stand-in court is to decide if Moore's expulsion by the State Court of the Judiciary should be upheld or overturned.
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