Roy Moore: Next Alabama Governor?

Roy Moore is running for governor again. The former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice who was thrown off the bench for refusing to remove a giant Ten Commandments sculpture from his Alabama courthouse has long been a darling of the Christian Right. But he still lost the GOP primary in 2006 to Bob Riley by a 2 to 1 margin. This time around, his prospects look a whole lot better as he has been embraced by the burgeoning Tea Party movement and those who want to return to a strict states’ rights reading of the Constitution. They’ve championed Moore not just for his religious displays but because he basically told the federal government to go stick it when he was ordered by a federal judge to get the Ten Commandments out of his courtroom. And according to Moore, even though his Republican opponents are outspending him by millions of dollars, recent polls show he’s got a double-digit lead over the next closest candidate in the primary.

Moore spoke Friday at a Tenth Amendment Summit in Atlanta sponsored by Ray McBerry, another “Constitutionalist” candidate running for governor of Georgia, and was greeted with many standing ovations and cheers of “Amen” by the many state legislators, aspiring candidates and various Tea Party and John Birch types assembled for the event. (There was even a guy carrying an actual pitchfork.) He fired up the crowd with rants against federal education spending, federal bailouts and the cap and trade bill, noting that the Constitution doesn’t give the federal government authority “over the weather.” Moore mixed his campaign platform with long quotes from Patrick Henry and other early patriots, and infused his take on the Constitution with a healthy dose of religion. “From God, all our rights proceed,” he intoned.

But the best part of his presentation came when he showed the illicit video footage, “what the federal government didn’t want you to see,” of his 2002 trial testimony from the lawsuit filed by the ACLU over the Ten Commandments statue. In court, Moore emphatically stated that to uphold the Constitution he had to “invoke the favor and guidance of almighty God” and that regardless of the outcome of the trial, he would never take the Ten Commandments out of his courthouse. Commenting on his testimony Friday, Moore exclaimed, “For once we told the federal government we will not bow down!” He had the Tenth Amendment crowd leaping from their seats. Apparently Moore sees the testimony as so compelling that he’s using it in his gubernatorial campaign ads, and you can watch some of it here.

He wrapped up with fighting words: “The war’s inevitable. Let it come. This is the war for our Constitution.”