Moore case will be circus

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 11, 2003

MONTGOMERY &045; The long-awaited trial of suspended Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore begins this week before the Court of the Judiciary, once again turning the State Judicial Building into a media circus.

On the eve of this historic event, lawyers for Moore made a final pitch to have the trial moved to the Montgomery Civic Center (with its 7,000 seating capacity) or to the 1,200-seat Davis Theater in Montgomery.

The request was denied. The trial will be held in the Supreme Court courtroom, which seats only 210.

Because of the limited space, getting a seat is the hottest ticket in town.

Moore is on trial for defying a federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the Judicial Building.

The eight member Court of the Judiciary could remove him from office, but that would take a unanimous vote of all eight members.

In Montgomery … where people bet on everything political … the odds are that Moore will not be removed from office but will be suspended with pay for a specific period of time.

Few people realize it and probably even fewer care, but there is another election facing Alabamians in the near future &045; the 2004 primary and general elections.

It will in no way compare in importance with the 2002 election but it will not be lacking in excitement.

A few days ago, two Republicans made the first move by announcing their candidacy for seats on the State Supreme Court.

Three seats on that court will be up for grabs next year, and two of them will be to fill vacancies.

Associate Justice Gorman Houston, presently the acting chief justice, must step down because of age; and Associate Justice Douglas (Dugger) Johnstone, the only Democrat on the court, is retiring.

The third seat on the ballot is held by Justice Jean Brown and she plans to seek re-election.

Announcing their candidacies last week were District Judge Patti Smith of Shelby County, who will run for Houston’s seat; and Civil Appeals Court Judge Glenn Murdock.

He has not decided which seat on the high court he will seek.

Other offices on the ballot in 2004 include the U.S. Senate seat now held by Richard Shelby and all seven seats in the U.S. House.

It is now a given that Atty. Gen. Bill Pryor can forget all about being a federal appellate court judge.

One more time last week, the Democats in the U.S. Senate were successful in blocking a vote on his nomination.

Republican supporters of Pryor one more time tried to muster the 60 votes necessary to cut off a filibuster on his nomination.

The vote of 51-43 to end the talkathon was far short of the 60 votes required.

It is improbable this fight will continue.

The &uot;no more taxes&uot; beat goes on.

Referendums were held in three counties last week to boost taxes and all went down in flames.

&uot;Flames&uot; is not an inappropriate adjective to use in two of those instances: Voters in Tallapoosa County and Marshall County voted down property tax increases which would have been used for rural fire protection.

A proposed 1 cent sales tax in Chilton County which would have been used for roads and schools also went down to a crushing defeat.

I am well aware of the old truth that &uot;hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.&uot;

I would now like to amend that by adding the words &uot;or ignored.&uot;

A couple of weeks ago in this space I made brief mention of the mayoral run-off election in Birmingham which pitted incumbent Mayor Bernard Kincaid against challenger Carole Smitherman.

Firing from the hip, I noted that should Mrs. Smitherman win (she didn’t), she would be the first woman to be elected mayor of a major Alabama city.

The letters and e-mails that bit of trivia prompted were short but to the point: &uot;Don’t you consider Huntsville a major city? Have you ever heard of Loretta Spencer?&uot; And on and on.

Yes, I do consider Huntsville a major city and yes, I have heard of Loretta Spencer. She is the mayor of Huntsville.

To make matters worse, my eldest son and family live in Huntsville. I wonder how many tickets I will get from city police when I visit there