Such questions are understandable, given the Alabama Senate race is attracting national attention, and election day is barely a month away. But citizens also should look backward and ask questions about the Alabama Supreme Court, which Moore "led" as chief justice.
Once Moore won his second term as Alabama's chief justice in 2012, evidence gradually mounted that the state's high court was riddled with corruption. An oft-heard refrain after Moore returned to the bench went something like this: "You might not agree with Roy's mix of religion and politics, but you have to admit that he has impeccable integrity and deep respect for the law. At least our courts won't be corrupt and favor the big-law special interests. The 'little man' finally will get a fair shake."
Heck, even I wanted to believe that -- especially since I had first-hand experience with Moore's opponent, Democrat Robert Vance Jr., and knew Vance was corrupt. Vance was (and is) a tool of the big downtown Birmingham law firms, such as Maynard Cooper and Gale and Adams and Reese/Lange Simpson. If I remember correctly, I actually voted for Moore in 2012; I sure as hell didn't vote for Vance.
It quickly became apparent that Roy Moore was unable -- or unwilling -- to lead a clean shop at the Alabama Supreme Court. Perhaps the most obvious signs of corruption on the Good Ship Roy came with glaringly unlawful rulings related to gaming. Another sign hit close to home for Mrs. Schnauzer and me, and it involves my unlawful five-month incarceration in Shelby County.
On the gambling issue, Alabama law is not complicated: Various counties had approved constitutional amendments allowing electronic bingo, and it is well settled that a constitutional amendment trumps any state statute that might designate e-bingo machines as illegal "gaming devices." The amendment in Macon County, home to VictoryLand, designated the sheriff to promulgate rules for the bingo games. When the sheriff determined the e-machines were a form of bingo -- and not illegal slot machines -- VictoryLand was set to roll under its owner, Milton McGregor.
Instead, Moore's Supreme Court went against its own precedent regarding constitutional amendments -- and usurped the will of Macon County voters and the authority of the sheriff -- to rule the VictoryLand machines were unlawful. That closed VictoryLand for more than three years, and Center Stage Alabama in Houston County was the subject of similar nonsensical findings.
Knowledgeable observers scratched their heads at the dumbfounding rulings emanating from Montgomery. How could the state's high court so blatantly issue rulings that were contrary to well-established law?
Well, we might now know the answer to that question. The Supreme Court rulings consistently favored GOP corporatist politicos -- Bob and Rob Riley, Luther Strange, Mike Hubbard -- who have been the beneficiaries of Indian gaming facilities (in Mississippi and Alabama) that wanted to close down their competitors in the private sector. The Supreme Court clearly was doing the bidding of the Riley Gang, but why was Roy Moore allowing this to happen? After all, his support comes from the Religious Right, not from the Pro-Business crowd.
Yesterday's report from The Washington Post almost certainly has its roots with supporters of Moore's opponent, Doug Jones. While Jones appears as a Democrat on the ballot, his most powerful support comes from corporate Republicans -- like Rob Riley, Karl Rove, and Bill Canary. What if Moore has known for years that his political enemies on the right held compromising information about him? What if he stayed silent on the gambling issues, in hopes it would help keep his secrets under wraps.
That might very well explain the Supreme Court's bogus rulings on e-bingo issues. It also might help explain what happened to me in fall 2013. That's when Rob Riley and lobbyist Liberty Duke filed a defamation lawsuit against me; my wife, Carol; and Legal Schnauzer. According to press reports, the Alabama Supreme Court appointed retired circuit judge Claud Neilson to hear the case, and he proceeded to have me thrown in jail, contrary to more than 230 years of First Amendment law.
Neilson's unlawful orders favored Riley and Duke at every turn. It was as if Roy Moore's Supreme Court had hand-picked a ringer to make sure Riley and Duke would get away with having me unlawfully incarcerated for five months. If Carol had not managed to elude capture -- allowing her to alert the press that I had essentially been kidnapped (without any sign of a warrant) from inside my own home -- who knows what would have happened. I continue to believe that if both of us were in custody, we would have been killed -- and the public would have had no clue what happened to us.
Did Roy Moore allow Claud Neilson to be appointed as a stooge, all because Moore was worried about dirt the Riley Machine had on him?
Perhaps we will learn for sure in the coming days. But we do know this: Rumors about possible dirt in Roy Moore's background have been floating around in Alabama for years. I doubt there is a journalist in the state who hasn't heard about them, although nailing them down for news stories proved difficult -- until The Washington Post broke through with yesterday's report.
The fallout going forward remains unknown. But the evidence looking backward suggests Roy Moore was a pathetically weak chief justice -- and e-bingo casinos (plus the thousands of Alabamians who lost jobs at them) have suffered; Carol and I have suffered, with our lives possibly put in danger. Alabama's image has suffered because both the e-bingo stories and my incarceration received national, even international, news coverage.
Regardless of what one thinks about The Washington Post report, this much can't be seriously disputed: Roy Moore was an ineffective, compromised chief justice. With longstanding rumors finally turning into headlines, he almost certainly would be an ineffective, compromised U.S. senator.