By John Krull
INDIANAPOLIS – From the beginning of his political career, Alabama Republican U.S. Sen. candidate Judge Roy Moore made it clear that man’s laws just don’t apply to him.
Moore made his fame as the “Ten Commandments” judge by trailing a replica of the decalogue around America as if it were a circus attraction. He wanted to protest the court rulings ordering the removal of the Ten Commandments from government property.
John Krull, publisher, TheStatehouseFile.com
That was his act – arguing that the rules of conduct or even laws that govern the rest of us just aren’t meant for him, because he’s pure of heart and faith.
He ignored or defied U.S. Supreme Court rulings that, he claimed, violated his religious principles or prejudices – all the while claiming that he was a strict constitutional constructionist. He took delight in using the power of his position to persecute lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens and has proclaimed that he wants to make homosexuality a crime.
He also says he wants to make Christianity America’s official religion.
His devotion to the Constitution apparently doesn’t extend to the First Amendment prohibition against establishing a state religion.
Moore’s antics got him kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court not once, but twice.
In some states, his serial nose-thumbing at the rule of law and judicial procedure might well have earned him a disbarment.
It now turns out that Moore may have violated the law in other ways.
The Washington Post reports, in meticulous fashion, that Moore, now 70, initiated or attempted to initiate sexual relationships with at least four teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
The youngest of them was 14 at the time. The oldest was 18.
Moore allegedly took the 14-year-old to his home, undressed himself, attempted to undress her and tried to make her touch his groin.
Moore has denied the events took place and has said the whole thing is a conspiracy cooked up by the liberal media and the Democratic Party.
His defense, such as it is, is undercut by several facts.
The first is that the Post interviewed more than 30 people for the story. The four girls – now women in their 50s – present details, which have been verified, they could not have known if some version of these events had not taken place. They do not know each other, and they have asked for nothing in return for telling their stories.
The second is that the most damning of Moore’s accusers – the 14-year-old girl whom he allegedly molested – is a lifelong Republican who is proud that she voted for Donald Trump in the most recent presidential election.
The third is that many of Moore’s fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate have denounced him, demanded that he drop out of the race for the Senate and now treat him as if he were the carrier of a particularly virulent communicable disease.
The fact that the Senate GOP has abandoned Moore is significant, because Alabama law is less than clear about whether the party could put a new candidate on the ballot before next month’s special election. That means those Republican senators would rather lose a seat by default than take a chance on having to carry Roy Moore around for six years.
Perhaps they understand that a guy who believes that the rules of the court and decent society don’t apply to him is unlikely to respect the practices and procedures of one of the world’s great deliberative bodies.
Or perhaps it is because they are just disgusted.
Moore, for his part, is digging in.
His campaign has sent out an emergency fundraising appeal to help him continue his campaign. Moore himself has pledged undying defiance, saying that he will fight on, regardless of how much proof piles up that he assaulted underage girls.
Because, you see, in Roy Moore’s world, the rules just don’t apply.
John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.