Alabama's top judge has bewildered legal experts with a ruling that suggests he believes he can overrule the US Supreme Court. Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has told state officials that they should stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a landmark ruling last year that made same-sex marriage the law of the land, NBC News reports. Moore claimed that the state's probate judges were confused over whether to follow the Supreme Court's June ruling or his own ruling early last year ordering them not to issue the licenses. Judges in Madison, Mobile, and Elmore counties have complied with Moore's ruling, though judges in other counties say they'll ignore Moore's "sad and pathetic" ruling, reports AL.com.
Moore has been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, and experts say his latest attempt to keep it out of Alabama is certain to fail and will probably cost the state a lot of money in the process, the AP reports. "Ordering the state's probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to all couples who seek them constitutes an exercise in futility," a University of Alabama law professor tells the New York Times. "At best, it sows chaos and confusion; at worst, it forces couples to bring federal court litigation in order to exercise a clearly established federal constitutional right."