Alabama’s chief justice was suspended Friday for his refusal to obey a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of his courthouse.
Roy Moore was automatically suspended with pay when the nine-member Judicial Inquiry Commission referred an ethics complaint against him to the Court of the Judiciary, which holds trial-like proceedings and can discipline and remove judges.
Where does the Judicial Inquiry Commission receive the power to suspend an elected official? How are members appointed to the commission?
August 23, 2003, 4:09am
This page has a history of the Texas Judicial Qualifications Commission, which I think is the same Commission referred to in that article. The Commission was created by an amendment to the Texas Constitution.
The Texas Judicial Qualifications Commission was created by Constitutional amendment in 1965 (Texas Constitution, Article V, Section 1-a). Following the example of California, Texas was only the second state in the United States to create such an essentially investigatory body; now every state of the Union has a judicial disciplinary agency. The original commission was composed of nine members: two appeals judges and two district judges (named by the Texas Supreme Court), two members of the State Bar (named by the State Bar), and three citizen members (named by the Governor). In 1977, the name was changed to the Commission on Judicial Conduct, which was now enlarged to 11 members: five judges (one appellate judge, one district judge, one county court-at-law judge, one justice of the peace, and one municipal court judge), all named by the Supreme Court; two lawyers (who must each have ten consecutive years of practice in Texas) named by the State Bar; and four public members (who must be at least 30 years old and not licensed to practice law) named by the Governor. Each appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the State Senate. Members serve 6-year terms. The members elect their own chair.
The commission may do any of the following: dismiss the complaint; order a public or private admonition, warning, or reprimand; require a judge to obtain additional training or education, or to undergo a physical or psychiatric exam; suspend, with or without pay, a judge charged with a felony or misdemeanor involving misconduct in office; seek removal or censure through formal proceedings (amounting to a public trial).
How can a Texas commission have power over an Alabama judge?
The selection and general rules of the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission are set forth in the
Constitution of the State of Alabama (Adobe format).
Google cached HTML version:
A judge shall be disqualified from acting as a judge, without loss of salary, while thereis pending (1) an indictment or an information charging him in the United States with a crimepunishable as a felony under a state or federal law, or (2) a complaint against him filed by thejudicial inquiry commission with the court of the judiciary.
In this case, someone filed a complaint upon Justice Moore’s announcement that he was not going to comply with the Federal court.
August 23, 2003, 4:15am
I am really stupid, and typed the wrong state into Google, is how.
Alabama’s Constitutional amendment creating their commission can be found here. (PDF file)
The Alabama Constitution vests enforcement of the state’s Canons of Judicial Ethics in the Judicial Inquiry Committee (“JIC”). (3) If a majority of the JIC determines that a reasonable basis for an ethics violation exists, the JIC may file a complaint with the Court of the Judiciary. (4) Ala. Const. of 1901, amend. 581, § 6.17(b). Once a complaint is filed, a charged judge is temporarily disqualified from judging until the Court of the Judiciary rules on the complaint; in the meantime, the pertinent judge draws his pay. Ala. Const. of 1901, amend. 328, § 6.19 (“A judge shall be disqualified from acting as a judge, without loss of salary, while there is pending … (2) a complaint against him filed by the judicial inquiry commission with the court of the judiciary.”).