Roy Moore will face Luther Strange in the Republican runoff primary election on September 26. The two are competing to fill the seat left vacant earlier this year by Jeff Sessions, who was confirmed as President Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. attorney general.
Both candidates are veterans of the Alabama political world—Strange was the state attorney general before Governor Robert Bentley appointed him to replace Sessions until the special election, and Moore previously served as chief justice of the state Supreme Court.
Twice elected to the court, he has also been twice suspended over his refusal to honor legal orders that went against his religious beliefs.
A native Alabaman and a Vietnam War veteran, Moore is a hardline religious conservative who styles himself as a constitutionalist fighting against big government and for freedom of religion.
Here’s is what you need to know about Roy Moore on the issues:
1. Moore Supports DACA Repeal & Is Opposed to Amnesty “Of Any Kind” for Illegal Immigrants
When asked by radio host Dale Jackson in July whether he would support an end to the DACA program, which granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who arrived to the country as minors, Moore said, “Pardon? The Dreamer program?”
“Yes Sir. The DACA/DAPA. You’re not aware of what dreamers are?” asked Jackson; to which Moore replied, “No.”
After Jackson gave a brief explanation of the program, which Trump officially killed earlier this month, Moore told the radio host: “Well if Trump’s done it, well then, that’s what Trump does. I don’t necessarily agree with it.”
Since then, Moore’s campaign team has made the former judge’s position more clear, telling Americans for Legal Immigration that “Roy Moore opposes DACA and the Dream Act and supports military patrol of the borders while the [border] wall is being constructed.”
Moore further clarified his position on immigration in a September 21 debate and said that “Congress did not do their duty on DACA, which was a mere memo from the Department of Homeland security under Barack Obama, which violated the laws.”
2. Moore Won’t Support “Anything Less Than a Full Repeal” of Obamacare
Moore recently earned the praise of Senator Rand Paul (R) after a campaign spokesperson told MSNBC that Moore would not support Graham-Cassidy, the GOP’s latest legislation rolling back portions of the Affordable Care Act, if it is “anything less than a full repeal of Obamacare.”
Paul is one of two Republican senators who have already broken from their party on the issue, potentially killing the bill.
“We do not need socialized medicine which will ultimately lead to loss of quality and affordability of heath care, as well as a loss of access to the latest medical technology. Obamacare should be completely repealed as soon as possible,” says Moore on his campaign website.
Moore’s camp put out a press release last week attacking his opponent, incumbent Luther Strange, for his support of partial repeal:
Now, Strange is saying that he likes certain aspects of the bill but cannot make a decision on whether he can vote for the bill. Ironically, Roy Moore takes the same exact position. However, their reasons for uncertainty are very different.
Strange wants to make sure that federal slush fund spending for programs is protected. Roy Moore wants to make sure that the federal government is getting out of the healthcare business entirely.
3. Moore Opposes Federal Funding for Abortion & Wants to Defund Planned Parenthood
“Federal funding for Planned Parenthood or any form of abortion should be stopped,” reads Moore’s campaign website.
Moore has frequently cited the country’s godlessness as the driving cause for many of the nation’s most pressing issues, including abortion.
At a campaign event last week, he told supporters: “All across our land we have child abuse, we have sodomy, we have murder, we have rape, we have all kind of immoral things happening because we have forgotten God.”
At the event, he also read from some of his own poetry:
We’ve voted in governments that are rotting to the core,
Appointing Godless judges who throw reason out the door.
Too soft to put a killer in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill that child before he leaves the womb.
Later in the week, during the only debate between Moore and Strange, Moore reiterated his stance.
“Our foundation has been shaken. Crime, corruption, immorality, abortion, sodomy, sexual perversion sweep our land. When we become one nation under God again, when liberty and justice for all reigns across our land, we will be truly good again,” Moore said at the candidate forum.
4. Moore Was Suspended From the State Supreme Court Twice Over Religious Divides
No political issue has defined Roy Moore’s career more than his support for religious liberty and freedom of worship.
The former Alabama State Supreme Court judge has been suspended not once, but twice over his refusal to enforce the law in legal disputes wherein he viewed the law as encroaching upon religious freedom.
In 2001, shortly after his election as chief justice of the court, Moore installed a monument featuring the text of the Ten Commandments inside the State Supreme Court building. The ACLU, alongside several activist groups, filed a lawsuit in response alleging that the monument endorsed Judeo-Christian values and contradicted the separation of church and state.
The monument was declared unconstitutional in 2002, and, after refusing to remove it in spite of a multitude of court orders, Moore was subsequently suspended from office in 2003.
“We must remain a moral and virtuous people, ‘One Nation under God.’ I support freedom of worship and the recognition of that God upon Whom we have always relied in peace and war,” he says on his 2017 campaign site.
Moore again won election to the position of chief justice in 2012, but received a second suspension in 2016 after he refused to enforce Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
“There is no such thing as same-sex marriage in the constitution. The words are not there; we’ve never had it in our history,” Moore told CNN after the decision. “Five judges on the Supreme Court, or justices, have presumed to find a fundamental right which has no basis in the history or logic or tradition of our country.”
According to AL.com, Moore and his wife, Kayla, attend Gallant First Baptist Church in Gallant, AL. “We consider ourselves Southern Baptist,” said his wife, Kayla.
5. Moore Thinks Racial Tensions Can Be Solved by Bringing the “Acknowledgement of God” Back Into the Discussion
Like many other issues facing the nation, Moore has repeatedly stated that he believes that the country’s racial tensions stem from the removal of God from the public discourse.
“Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting,” said Moore in a video turned over to The Hill last week. “What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.”
After a huge backlash from the media over his choice of language, his campaign further clarified in a statement: “This is the gospel. If we take it seriously, America can once again be united as one nation under God.”
In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Philip Wegmann pointed out that while Moore’s speech might have been cringe-worthy to those in Washington, his clumsy words came amid a call for bipartisanship that included “no white supremacy … no argument made against equality.”
Moore has not made any statements about his position on the Black Lives Matter movement, but in a state where 26 percent of the population is black, voters are sure to wonder.
He has been endorsed by several prominent black leaders, including Ben Carson and the founder of the Coalition of African American Pastors, Rev. William Owens.