When the U.S. Senator from Alabama, Jeff Sessions, was tapped to head the Department of Justice as the U.S. Attorney General, a spot opened in the Senate to be filled in a special election. Now that the primaries are over, the Republican candidate has emerged as Roy Moore – a former state supreme court judge who was removed from the bench not once, but twice for his unrepentant religious crusading.
If Moore gets elected to the Senate, we can count on 7 things happening as he pushes his personal agenda in the upper echelon of U.S. politics. However, while he is up for election in a state that has only sent Republicans to the U.S. Senate since 1997, the outcome of the election is far from clear and there are things that you can do, to help.
He Will Promote Religious Schools Over Secular Ones
There are numerous places where Moore has promised to make changes in the country. However, he has presumably given more serious thought to what is written and posted on his campaign website than to what he has spouted off during his campaign speeches.
This makes the campaign promise Moore makes on his website to “encourage” Christian schools especially worrisome.
Religious schools have been a difficult issue in the law surrounding the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Unfortunately, Moore’s viewpoints will likely resonate with one of the major players in the education system today, Betsy DeVos, increasing the odds that they will continue to develop.
He Will Align With Russian and Nazi Interests
As a fringe candidate who detests the established political structure in America and whose religious fervor is borderline medieval, Moore has attracted some interesting bedfellows during his campaign: Russia and Nazism.
Over the course of a single weekend, Roy Moore’s official Twitter account gained 20,000 followers. 1,100 of them were Russian-language accounts, while thousands more were “bots,” with generic, gibberish, or duplicative descriptions, no activity, and copied photos. Bots serve to bloat someone’s apparent online popularity, parrot propaganda, and send automated messages to respond to predetermined talking points. Nearly half of President Trump’s Twitter followers were bots during the election, according to Newsweek, and were used to great-enough effect for Special Counsel Mueller to subpoena social media moguls surrounding the investigation of collusion between Trump and Russia.
Meanwhile, Moore’s past forays into political life have benefitted from campaign donations from Nazi organizations. Moore’s nonprofit organization, Foundation for Moral Law - the same organization that doesn’t file tax returns and has paid Moore a million dollars over the past decade to act as its attorney – received a $1,000 donation from the Foundation to Defend the First Amendment. According to a report by the Huffington Post, the Foundation to Defend the First Amendment is a nonprofit front used by the now-deceased Nazi sympathizer and white supremacist Willis Carto to funnel money into anti-Semitic groups. Moore’s foundation is one of the few non-Holocaust-denying organizations to receive Carto’s money.
More recently, Moore’s second election to the Alabama Supreme Court received 64% of its funding from Michael Peroutka of the white supremacist and secessionist organization League of the South.
The fact that Moore is receiving support from these sources highlights how similar his views are to the white supremacist movement, and how he fits in handily with Russia’s surfacing interest in sowing ideological divisions among Americans.
He Will Base Decisions on Groundless Xenophobia and Conspiracy Theories
During his campaign for the Republican primary, Roy Moore insinuated that he was needed in the Senate because “there are communities under Sharia law right now in our country.”
When he was pressed by reporters to elaborate, Moore fumbled about where, exactly, they were: “In Illinois, Indiana… Up there. I don’t know.”
Moore blustered because, simply put, he was wrong. His misinformation came from this satire article about Sharia law in Indiana. However, because the article fit into Moore’s personal interpretation of the world around him, he accepted it at face value. This willingness to accept baseless claims that fit into his subjective worldview becomes dangerous when that worldview can then drive American policy.
He Will Ignore the Law When It Conflicts With His Personal Beliefs
If there’s one thing that we learned from Roy Moore’s tenure as a judge in Alabama, it’s that he will push his religious beliefs, even when the law expressly forbids it. Both times Moore was kicked off the bench are examples.
The first time Moore was kicked out of the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to obey the law was in 2001, when he erected a 5,280-pound monument to the Ten Commandments in the middle of the judicial building’s rotunda. Civil rights lawyers sued to have it removed, citing one express conceptual reason – the Establishment Clause – and one practical reason that was merely implied – non-Christian clients could get the impression that their cases were doomed. The federal court decided the monument violated the Establishment Clause, and ordered it removed.
Moore appealed. The appellate court confirmed that the monument violated the Establishment Clause violation.
Moore didn’t care. He publicly stated that he’d leave the monument up, followed through on that promise, saw the monument removed when all eight of the other judges on the Alabama Supreme Court ordered it removed, and was then removed from office for violating the court order.
Alabamans reelected Moore to their Supreme Court in 2012.
In 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided that it violated the U.S. Constitution to prevent same-sex couples from marrying. The binding decision, however, was blasphemy in the eyes of Judge Moore, who once refused to give a mother custody of her child because she was gay. So Judge Moore told all of his subordinates to defy the law, and refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses, which led to him getting kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court, for a second time.
He Will Stretch the Law to Attack Those He Doesn’t Agree With
Not only will Roy Moore ignore the law when it doesn’t comply with his personal belief system, he will also use whatever authority he has to stretch the law and attack those he doesn’t agree with.
Recently, Moore came out in opposition to NFL players who knelt during the national anthem in protest against police violence against black men. However, Moore didn’t stop at voicing his displeasure. He claimed they were violating the law.
There was one problem: The law that Moore claimed they were violating, 36 U.S.C. §301, doesn’t actually have any requirements. It simply says what people “should” or “may” do when they hear the anthem.
He Will Impeach Judges He Doesn’t Agree With
Another one of Roy Moore’s campaign promises on his official website is that he will “support impeachment of judges and justices who knowingly and intentionally violate” the U.S. Constitution.
This is a strange campaign promise for someone to make who was thrown from the bench for knowingly and intentionally violating that same Constitution twice. However, Moore is targeting what he calls “activist judges” with this promise, something that is often used a shorthand for judges that make decisions you don’t agree with.
He Will Overturn Obergefell and Roe v. Wade
The Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges was the one that recognized that marrying is a fundamental right that everyone should have, regardless of their sexual orientation. Roe v. Wade was the Supreme Court case that gave women a right to an abortion.
On his official campaign website, Moore promises to oppose gay marriage and abortion as a “threat to the traditional family order.” Those promises are based on Moore’s personal beliefs, which are held despite the Supreme Court’s insistence that they are constitutional right. In both cases, they show an aggressive willingness to take away the rights of others for the sake of Moore’s personal beliefs.
What You Can Do
Preventing Roy Moore from getting a voice in the U.S. Senate is both crucial and also, ultimately, up to the voters in Alabama, who are notoriously Republican. However, even if you don’t live in that state, there are still things that you can do to help, and with polls tied, it can make a significant difference.
First, you can make a campaign contribution to Moore’s challenger, Democratic nominee Doug Jones. Moore is notorious for winning elections while getting significantly outspent by opponents. However, the data runs the other way: Candidates who outspend their opponents were 9 times more likely to win the election in 2012.
Second, if you’re short on money but still want to make an impact, you can volunteer for Jones’ campaign, which takes volunteer applications from out-of-staters, as well.
Finally, if you don’t have the money or the time to volunteer, showing your support on social media can help, as well. Show your support for Jones and voice your criticisms of Moore by following the relevant accounts on Twitter: