MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Firebrand jurist Roy Moore on Tuesday night won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that previously belonged to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He will face Democrat Doug Jones in Dec. 12 election. Here are some things to know about Moore.
TWICE REMOVED FROM OFFICE
Moore has twice been elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and twice removed from those duties by a judicial discipline panel. In 2003, the panel ousted him when he disobeyed a federal judge’s order to remove a 5,200 pound (2358.7 kilogram) granite Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building. Moore was re-elected in 2012, but the panel permanently suspended him in 2016 after urging state probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage. Moore disputed that accusation.
WEST POINT GRAD, VIETNAM VET
Moore grew up in rural Alabama in a house that did not have indoor plumbing. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a place he said he was inspired to attend after watching the movie “The Long Gray Line.” Moore served as a commander of a military police unit in Vietnam. Moore said the troops sometimes referred to him as “Captain America” because of his strict adherence to military code.
KICKBOXER, RANCH HAND AND POET
After losing a 1982 race for circuit judge, Moore left Alabama for Texas and competed as a kickboxer. He also spent a year working on a cattle ranch in Australia, before returning to the law. He has also dabbled in poetry. In a poem titled “America the Beautiful” Moore wrote “America the Beautiful, or so you used to be, Land of the Pilgrims’ pride, I’m glad they’re not here to see, Babies piled in Dumpsters, abortion on demand, Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.”
‘ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF GOD’
A stalwart of the religious right, Moore has long argued that the nation is forgetting its Christian roots and has made the “acknowledgement of God” his signature issue. In campaign speeches he has criticized federal court rulings that he said prevented football coaches from praying on the 50-yard line and forced judges to recognize marriage between a “man and a man.”
HOMOSEXUALITY AN ‘INHERENT EVIL’
Moore wrote in a 2002 concurring opinion in a child custody case that there was a presumption that the mother is unfit because she was in a relationship with a woman. He said homosexuality is “an inherent evil against which children must be protected.” On the campaign trail in 2012 he predicted that gay marriage would be the ultimate destruction of the country. He was a vocal critic of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
GOP VOICE FOR SENTENCING REFORM
Moore has been an advocate for sentencing reform in the state. In special writings as chief justice, he criticized mandatory minimum sentences that he said tied judges’ hands. In 2015, he criticized a life sentence given to a man in his 70s after police found a marijuana growing operation in his home. The man said he was growing the marijuana for personal use. Moore also criticized a habitual offender life sentence given to a man who was attempting to shop lift a nail gun.
‘MESSAGE TO THE SWAMP’
Moore has received the backing of a number of anti-establishment forces in the U.S. Senate race. Former White House strategist Steve Bannon and the pro-Trump Great America Alliance lined up behind Moore. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said in a rally last week that Moore’s election would send the “loudest message to the swamp.” While President Donald Trump endorsed Strange in the race, he said he would support Moore in December if he won Tuesday’s runoff.