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Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore Suspended Until 2019

On Sept. 30, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended by the Court of Justice until the end of his term.

The board reached the punitive decision months after Judge Moore issued an order to Alabama probate judges on Jan. 6 explaining that they “have a ministerial duty not to issue” marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

This was yet another protest by the highly conservative judge against same-sex marriage. In February 2015, before the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalized gay marriage, Moore set a precedent by ordering his subordinate judges to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples, The Washington Post reported.

“I would never tell them what to do,” said Moore in reference to Alabama probate judges, according to AL.com.

Moore apparently interpreted the Obergefell v. Hodges decision as non-binding in Alabama since the Alabama Supreme Court did not make a final ruling on the decision, according to The New York Times. Moore made the decision to order probate judges not to administer marriage licenses to same-sex couples until state-level decisions were made.

NBC News speculates that there may be a connection between the precedent set by the Alabama Supreme Court's defiance of Federal Court orders to allow same-sex marriages, and Moore's blatant disregard for a Federal Supreme Court decision.

The suspension is effectively a dismissal, as Moore will be unable to run for office again, due to his age, once his current term expires in 2019.

The Court of Justice found Moore guilty of six charges of violating the canons of judicial ethics, according to AL.com. Moore has also been taxed for the costs of the legal proceedings, reported NBC News.

“He was instructing state officers to disregard a binding injunction that was consistent with controlling Supreme Court precedent,” said University of Alabama law professor Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr. to The New York Times.

Moore's removal comes 13 years after his first removal from the bench, when he was dismissed for refusing to remove a monument of The 10 Commandments.

It is unknown whether Moore, 69, will return to the political or judicial spotlight after his term as Chief Justice is over.

Sources: AL.com (2), The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News / Photo credit: AL.com