The Alabama Supreme Court rejected Roy Moore’s appeal of his suspension as Chief Justice of Alabama on April 19. Moore v. Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission, 2017 WL 1403696, 2017 Ala. LEXIS 36.
The Alabama Supreme Court normally consists of seven justices elected by the people of the state, but when Roy Moore, who was suspended as chief justice by order of the state’s Court of the Judiciary on September 30, 2016, sought to exercise his right to appeal that ruling to the state’s Supreme Court, all of the other justices recused themselves. What to do? The Supreme Court invoked a special procedure to authorize the Acting Chief Justice (who was appointed to occupy Moore’s seat for the duration of his elective term) to “participate” with then-Governor Bentley (who has since resigned because of a sex scandal) to create a substitute supreme court to consider Moore’s appeal. They assembled a list of all the retired judges in the state who were deemed “capable of service,” then conducted a lottery to compile a list of fifty potential judges, with the first seven names drawn to make up this special substitute version of the court, unless one or more recused themselves or were disqualified for some other reason, in which case they would go back to the list of 50 until they had a full bench.