On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) became the second sitting senator to endorse Republican Roy Moore in upcoming Alabama Senate election. In a statement, Paul praised Moore — who twice lost his job as Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court for violating federal court orders — for defending the Constitution:
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 17, 2017
This description of Moore’s legacy could not be more inapt.
The first time Moore lost his job, he had erected a Ten Commandments monument in the state Supreme Court building. A federal judge ruled the 2.6-ton sculpture constituted an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by the state, but Moore refused to take it down. The state’s Court of the Judiciary unanimously voted in November 2003 to remove Moore from his position for violating the court order.
But because Alabama’s state courts are filled by electors, Moore ran again ten years later and won back his seat as Chief Justice. The U.S. Supreme Court came along and said that, according to the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, marriage equality was the law of the land. Moore — who supports criminalizing homosexuality — resisted, instructing Alabama’s probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In September of 2016, the Court of the Judiciary again ruled against Moore, suspending him without pay until the end of his term, which prompted him to resign.
To say, as Paul did, that Moore has “spent a lifetime defending and standing up for the Constitution” ignores that he has lost his job twice for violating that very Constitution — unapologetically. It’s also an endorsement of his odious anti-LGBTQ views, but that’s not entirely out of character for Paul, who has opposed marriage equality and LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.
Paul’s endorsement follows Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) on Monday. Lee has been the primary sponsor of the “First Amendment Defense Act,” which would allow for anti-LGBTQ discrimination. This doesn’t concern Lee, however, because he doesn’t believe anti-LGBTQ discrimination is actually a major problem.
Even though President Trump supported Sen. Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary, he immediately switched his support to Moore after he won. Trump has continued to dodge questions about Moore’s callous comments about the LGBTQ community and other issues.