Alabama chief justice begins appeal of ethics conviction

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama's permanently suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore has begun to challenge his ethics conviction, arguing that the state Court of the Judiciary, a body formed to discipline Alabama's judges, was never empowered to rule on a key part of his case.

Moore's attorneys filed a notice of appeal Monday with the Alabama Supreme Court. His full legal arguments will come later.

The court removed Moore from the bench Friday for the remainder of his six-year term after finding that he overstepped his authority when he told judges last year that Alabama's same-sex marriage ban remained in effect, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Moore's filing Monday said the issues he'll be challenging include whether the court has the power to review administrative orders like his, whether the Judicial Inquiry Commission presented convincing evidence and violated confidentiality rules, whether he should have been automatically suspended when charged, and whether the court can effectively remove him without a unanimous vote.

Moore's eight former colleagues on the all-Republican Supreme Court will consider his prosecution and conviction. Meanwhile, he remains suspended without pay and will not participate in the appeal.

This is Moore's second removal as chief justice; in 2013, he was ousted for defying federal orders to move a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the rotunda of the state judicial building. That made him a favourite among Christian conservative voters, and he was later re-elected to the post.

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