Roy Moore Would Eliminate Virtually Everyone’s Rights
During an appearance on a far-right, conspiracy theory driven radio show in 2011, Alabama Senate candidate and accused child molester Roy Moore made the case for eliminating all of the Constitution’s amendments not included in the original Bill of Rights. He argued the elimination of every amendment following the Tenth Amendment would ‘eliminate many problems’ the nation has with governance.
The wholesale elimination of those amendments would effectively return the United States to being a nation where white, landing-owning men would be the only persons with full civil rights.
The comments mesh with other public positions the embattled candidate has made over the years including comments he made at a September campaign rally where he argued the nation hasn’t been “great” since slavery was legal.
Moore argued for the elimination of constitutional amendments while appearing on the “Aroostook Watchmen” show, hosted by Jack McCarthy and Steve Martin.
Summarizing the duo’s history of crackpot theories, CNN noted:
The hosts have argued that the US government is illegitimate and who have said that the September 11, 2001, attacks, the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, the Boston bombing, and other mass shootings and terrorist attacks are false flag attacks committed by the government. (False flag attacks refer to acts that are designed by perpetrators to be made to look like they were carried out by other individuals or groups.)
The hosts have also spread conspiracy theories about the raid that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden and have pushed the false claim that former President Barack Obama was not born in the US.
In his appearance on the show in June 2011, Roy Moore not only promised to use his power to propagate their 9/11 conspiracy theories, but also to potentially attack the very foundations of the U.S democracy through dismantling constitutional amendments.
Perhaps more alarmingly, Moore quoted Adolf Hitler while propagating the birther conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
“You couldn’t get on my submarine with the kind of documentation that this president [Obama] offers as proof positive of who he is,” one of the hosts said at the time recalling his military service.
“Well, that’s a problem, you know. Hitler once said, ‘If you tell a big enough lie long enough, people tend to believe it.’ That’s the problem,” Moore responded. “We’ve got to look at the simple facts of the case and we need to recognize we need a new administration in Washington. Based on party, we need to elect people who uphold the Constitution, not undermine it.”
In the same breath that he argued for defending the Constitution, though, Moore made the argument for dismantling large portions of the legal framework that make up that living document.
Saying that eliminating all amendments after the Tenth Amendment “would eliminate many problems,” Moore added, “You know people don’t understand how some of these amendments have completely tried to wreck the form of government that our forefathers intended.”
One of the examples Moore cited was the 17th Amendment – the amendment that removed state legislatures’ ability to select U.S. Senators (giving that power to the people through voting). Additionally, Moore and the show’s hosts went on to attack the 14th Amendment (a Reconstruction amendment that ensured former slaves enjoyed full civil equality under the constitution from voting to citizenship, among other civil rights).
“People also don’t understand, and being from the South I bet you get it, the 14th Amendment was only approved at the point of the gun,” one of the hosts argued.
“Yeah, it had very serious problems with its approval by the states,” Moore said. He added:
“The danger in the 14th Amendment, which was to restrict, it has been a restriction on the states using the first Ten Amendments by and through the 14th Amendment. To restrict the states from doing something that the federal government was restricted from doing and allowing the federal government to do something which the first Ten Amendments prevented them from doing. If you understand the incorporation doctrine used by the courts and what it meant. You’d understand what I’m talking about.”
CNN‘s KFile posted three sections of audio from the interview:
Outside of his explicit attacks on direct election of Senators and the rights of African-Americans, Moore’s argument that all amendments after the Tenth Amendment should be eliminated has far-reaching consequences for almost everyone.
The Context of Moore’s Comments
It’s worth noting some of the more important amendments Moore would eliminate based on his 2011 comments. Those include:
- 13th: Abolished slavery [this one isn’t surprising given Moore’s September 2017 comments]
- 14th: We discussed this one above. It took the abolition of slavery one step further and guaranteed the rights of newly freed slaves (as well as free-living African-Americans). But more than that, the amendment contains three clauses crucial to modern civil rights jurisprudence: the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause.
- 15th: Suffrage for African-American men. This one is a big one as southern red states continue to this day to attempt to disenfranchise the black vote.
- 17th: Direct election of Senators
- 19th: Suffrage for women – another key amendment that secured the right to vote for women.
- 24th: Prohibition of poll taxes as a method of disenfranchisement (again, something needed as southern red states routinely used underhanded tactics like poll tests and taxes to disenfranchise black voters).
While other amendments not listed above serve crucial functions in the ongoing functioning of modern democracy in the United States, the absence of these amendments would create an entirely different nation – one ruled almost exclusively by one class, color and gender of people.
Moore’s campaign team responded to the remarks surfacing by saying Moore shouldn’t have his comments be taken at face value as he said them in 2011.
“Once again, the media is taking a discussion about the overall framework for the separation of powers as laid out in the constitution to twist Roy Moore’s position on specific issues,” Brett Doster said. “Roy Moore does not now nor has he ever favored limiting an individual’s right to vote, and as a judge, he was noted for his fairness and for being a champion of civil rights.
“Judge Moore has expressed concern, as many other conservatives have, that the historical trend since the ratification of the Bill of Rights has been for federal empowerment over state empowerment.”
This statement does not quite mesh with Moore’s actions and statements since that fateful 2011 interview, however.
Aside from his September 2017 campaign rally statements where he essentially endorsed slavery, Moore explicitly named the 14th Amendment as one he would eliminate if given the opportunity. This matches his judicial philosophy as a former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice on multiple occasions.
Moore’s History of Constitutional Disrespect
One of those disagreements is actually the reason he was removed from the bench (for a second time). When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples are legally entitled to marriage equality, Moore attempted to subvert rule of law arguing that his personal religious views should super cede constitutional protections – particularly those enshrined in the 14th Amendment.
Calling a federal judge’s ruling striking down his state’s same sex marriage ban “tyranny”, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore told media he will not follow any legal decision handed down – federal, state or otherwise – contradicting his view on the legality of marriage equality. Moore’s statements follow two separate rulings on Friday and Monday striking down the state’s ban as unconstitutional. In a three-page open letter to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley published at AL.com, Moore firmly stated he would not abide by the legally-binding federal rulings.
“I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity,” Moore wrote. “Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.”
In the letter he warned “the destruction of that institution is upon us by federal courts using specious pretexts based on the Equal Protection, Due Process and Full Faith and Credit Clauses of the United States Constitution.”
Those clauses are mostly found in the 14th Amendment.
As the Supreme Court was prepared to hand down the Obergefell decision, Moore demonstrated just how much he respects amendments after the Tenth Amendment. We wrote in January 2016:
Using his authority as the ‘Administrative Head of the Unified Judicial System of Alabama’ Moore – through his four-page order – announced that the prior state ruling barring all probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples is still in effect.
“Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect,” Moore wrote in the order. His directive directly references statements made last summer where he claimed public officials are “ministers of God.”
The order additionally fulfills Moore promise last year to defy any order issued by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning marriage equality.
LGBTQ people aren’t the only population Roy Moore has targeted through his speech, actions and failed legal career.
During a campaign event this summer, in fact, Moore disregarded the constitutional protections minorities enjoy in order to make the argument that Muslims aren’t protected by the First Amendment. We reported at the time that Moore said:
“False religions like Islam who teach that you must worship this way, are completely opposite with what our First Amendment stands for. Our First Amendment stands for that man can’t tell you how to worship God. Congress can’t even make a law respecting an establishment of religion.”
He went on to argue that “when [judges] create a right, they take away another right that God gave us. And if they keep going, they’ll take away any right.”
This falls squarely under the same generic legal umbrella his campaign staff attempted to use when they argue he’s only concerned about federalism (rather than admitting his position involves the wholesale elimination of entire chunks of constitutional law dealing with civil rights).
The newly unearthed comments offer a consistent view into the positions Moore has held for most of his public service career from advancing a Dominionist Christian version of jurisprudence to denying the constitutional rights of minorities.
Should Alabama voters elect Roy Moore this week, Democrats will have ample ammunition for the 2018 election cycle in pointing out the current abysmal state of the GOP from unresolved sexual assault allegations running rampant (and all the way up to the top of the White House) to endorsement of a man who has not only endorsed removing large chunks of the document he’s previously pledged to defend, but who is also accused of molesting children.
And those accusations weren’t enough of a disqualifier for Republicans to turn their back on him and select a more appropriate conservative candidate.
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