Republican Roy Moore’s election last week as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court likely shows that many Alabamians thought he was on the correct side of the religious argument that led to his removal from the same seat nearly a decade ago.
“In my judgment, the people of Alabama, by electing Moore to the chief justice chair, said he had been unfairly removed for doing something they support,” said William Stewart, retired professor emeritus in political science at the University of Alabama. “He was convicted of doing something they would have done.”
Moore was removed from office for disobeying a federal judge’s order to move a monument of the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Judicial Building.
So, what’s it say that the state re-elected a man who was removed from office unanimously by a panel of his peers?
“It says that if you are a politician, and you can wrap yourself in the King James Bible, you are effectively immune from rational discussion,” said Jess Brown, a political science professor at Athens State University.
Moore’s Democratic opponent, Robert Vance, entered the race late in the summer after another candidate was removed by the state Democrat party. Moore won on Tuesday with 52 percent of the vote.
“(That shows) that if you’re going to run for chief justice, you can’t do it in 90 days,” Brown said. He also attributed the win to the strength of the Republican Party in Alabama and straight-ticket voting.
But apparently, not all Republicans voted for Moore.
Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney received 1,252,391 votes Tuesday. Moore received 1,042,104.
“I thought that showed that a strong group of thinking Republicans didn’t want that movie to play again in Alabama,” Democratic state Sen. Roger Bedford, of Russellville, said.
In congratulating Moore last week, Bill Armistead, chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, said, “There is no question that he was the candidate in this race who best represented conservative, Alabama values.”
They can’t promise a hacker attack like what recently occurred in South Carolina could never happen here, but officials at the Alabama Department of Revenue are confident they’ve done everything in their power to prevent it.
“There is no 100 percent guarantee on this, but I’m telling you that we are one of the few states in the nation that has spent the money to protect taxpayers’ information to the degree that we have,” state Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee told the newspaper recently.
An international hacker broke into the South Carolina Department of Revenue computer files and gained access to about 3.6 million tax returns, the Associated Press reported in October. The hacked files included state returns submitted since 1998 with unencrypted Social Security numbers. There also were about 387,000 credit and debit card numbers of which 16,000 were unencrypted.
Magee and Ken Ball, the department’s director for information technology, were on a conference call with officials from South Carolina and other states soon after, discussing security concerns.
“We’ve done quite a bit at Revenue in the last couple of years to make sure information is safeguarded,” Ball said.
Then he spoke of file encryption, firewalls and intrusion detection.
Also, Alabama has something few other states do: Five full-time employees who do nothing but technology security.
“We spend a lot of money and a lot of time securing data,” Ball said.
Similarly, the Alabama Department of Finance runs a separate security system and firewalls for all state government, Ball said.