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Wednesday, February 04, 2004  

News: 'Ten Commandments judge' may seek presidency

Speculation has been that the opportunist who made a name for himself by stationing a huge granite monument to the Ten Commandments in the foyer of the Alabama judiciary building is preparing for an eventual gubernatorial run. Now, the far Right is encouraging him to seek another office - the Presidency. Right Wing redoubt WorldNetDaily.com. has looked into the matter.

Ousted Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore is focused on trying to get his job back but will not rule out a third-party run for the presidency that could threaten President Bush's re-election chances.

At a recent speaking engagement, the man who became famous for his defense of a Ten Commandments monument was asked during a question-and-answer session whether he would run for president, reported Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund.

"Not right now," Moore said, according to Fund, who noted Moore's friends say he is undecided about whether to run for president or to wait two years and seek Alabama's governorship.

Moore most recently claimed the spotlight at a gathering of influential supporters of the religious Right in Atlanta.

About 700 conservative Christians gathered at an Atlanta church yesterday for a rally that included Governor [Sonny] Perdue, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore and three Georgia Republicans vying for a U-S Senate seat.

The Christian Coalition's 2004 Family and Freedom Kickoff was held at Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

Members of the coalition -- considered some of the G-O-P's most loyal and active voters -- listened to speeches supporting the war on terrorism, advocating a ban on gay marriage and pushing the public display of the Ten Commandments.

If Moore can sway enough supporters of the Republicans toward a third-party candidacy, he will have achieved a feat not accomplished since some Christian conservatives defected to multimillionaire Ross Perot's ill-fated campaign in 1992.

Meanwhile, the renegade judge has continued to press to be reinstated as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. It became necessary to select a special panel to hear the appeal after his former colleagues recused themselves, perhaps fearing backlash if they again go on record as opposing him.

A special 7-member Alabama Supreme Court was sworn in Monday afternoon to hear Roy Moore's appeal of his ouster as chief justice. Former governor and former criminal appeals court judge John Patterson is serving as chief justice for the special Supreme Court.

The other members are also retired appellate court and circuit court judges. The special court was selected because all members of the regular Supreme Court stepped aside from hearing Moore's case. Moore is appealing his ouster by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.

He was removed from office for failing to obey a federal judge's order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state Judicial Building in Montgomery.

The WSJ's Fund, who became notorious while battling claims he forced his girlfriend, a fellow Right Winger, to have an abortion, is among those providing publicity for Moore. He devoted a column to Moore Monday.

A lot of people want him to run. Last Saturday, Mr. Moore was a featured speaker at the Christian Coalition's "Family and Freedom" rally in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported he was "treated like a rock star, signing autographs and getting thunderous standing ovations." The week before that, Mr. Moore was the speaker at a dinner in Lancaster, Pa., sponsored by the Constitution Party, which has the third-largest number of registered voters in the U.S. and whose presidential candidate, Howard Phillips, was on 41 state ballots in 2000.

. . .There is no doubt that Mr. Moore's civil disobedience struck a chord with some elements of the population, but are they enough to sustain a presidential candidacy? "If he can get on talk shows and stir up conservative voters he could easily get significantly more than the usual third-party vote totals," says Richard Winger, a leading authority on independent candidacies and editor of Ballot Access News. He notes that while the Libertarian and Green parties are much better known, the Constitution Party has 320,000 registered voters around the country and guaranteed ballot access in large states such as California and Pennsylvania. Its national convention won't be held until June 22, giving Mr. Moore time to exhaust the appeal of his dismissal before the Alabama courts.

Moore has proven that a calculating person, with the aid of monied members of the religious Right, can attract attention and a following. However, it is yet to be seen whether the people who support his efforts to impose his values on the citizenry would select his name on a ballot nationally. Even with the Constitution Party as a threshold, he may be unable to attract enough voters to be more than a fly in the ointment. Since Moore's chances of prevailing in his effort to return to the Alabama Supreme Court are nil, we may get an opportunity to see if his brand of politics translates into actual votes.

Reasonably related

  • Among those seeking a third party candidate farther to the Right than Bush are libertarians and/or neo-Confederates, including League of the South supporter Clyde Wilson.
  • The discredited legal theory of 'interposition' is often invoked to justify states imposing Christian fundamentalism on their citizens.

  • 11:00 AM