Who is the Real Renegade Judge in the Alabama Same-Sex Marriage Battle?

By Rachel Alexander Published on March 31, 2015

Law professor Adam J. MacLeod has penned a piece over at Public Discourse detailing the ongoing efforts of U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade to prevent any Alabama official from enforcing the state’s marriage laws. MacLeod has an insider’s look at what’s happening there due to his former position as an expert consultant to the Attorney General of Alabama concerning challenges to Alabama’s marriage laws in various federal courts. He summarizes: “Judge Callie Granade ignored the case in front of her, then decided a hypothetical case involving facts that she made up, many of which directly contradicted the undisputed facts in the actual case before her.”

On January 23, Judge Granade ordered Alabama’s Attorney General not to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage ban, an overreach of her jurisdiction. Granade’s jurisdiction in southern Alabama doesn’t even cover the entire state, merely 13 out of its 67 counties. In response, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, in his capacity as the chief administrative officer of the Alabama courts, issued an order prohibiting probate judges from issuing licenses.

Legal scholar Alan Eastman notes there is no hard and fast rule that a state supreme court must follow precedent from a federal district court. Even The New York Times grudgingly admitted that Moore was basically right and Granade could not stop the ban statewide, observing, “On its face, Granade’s order doesn’t require state probate judges all over Alabama — who weren’t named in the case Granade heard — to issue marriage licenses.”

MacLeod is working his way through each part of Granade’s decision and documenting the instances of overreach, and intends to continue adding more. He laments that the mainstream media seems to be giving her a free pass, despite what is becoming “a case study of a shameful period in the history of the American legal profession.”

Most media reports stereotype the Alabama Supreme Court as a tool of “renegade” Judge Moore. However, Moore recused himself from the rulings over the legitimacy of his order, and the rest of the justices backed him 7-1. So far, probate judges are adhering to the state supreme court’s ruling and upholding the same-sex marriage ban. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion on same-sex marriage later this year.

Click here to read Judicial Tyranny UnMoored.

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