Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who among other labels he's used for himself includes "constitutional conservative," today officially endorsed Republican Alabama Senate candidate, and former state Supreme Court judge, Roy Moore, who likes to describe himself that way as well.
"?Judge Roy Moore has spent a lifetime defending and standing up for the Constitution while fighting for the people of Alabama. We need more people in Washington, D.C. that will stand on principle and defend the Constitution?….I look forward to welcoming him to the Senate very soon," Paul said in his endorsement statement.
Any libertarian should be appalled by Moore, for reasons detailed further below, and by Paul endorsing him.
On the one hand, "Republican senator endorses another Republican senator" isn't huge news. But if ever there were a would-be colleague who someone of even slight libertarian tendencies should be leery of, it is Moore.
Shikha Dalmia wrote earlier this month about some of other things Moore spent his lifetime doing, adding up to a highly theocratic vision that she analogized to Saudi Arabia (despite Moore's paranoid belief that Sharia law exists in parts of America), including:
that he is the author of the misnamed 2005 Constitution Restoration Act that would give Congress the power to remove any judge who refuses to recognize God as the source of America's law. The bill also seeks to limit the power of the Supreme Court to overrule or punish any state official or judge acting in the name of God's law and, instead, would impeach the judges who take on such cases…nearly all of Moore's conservative backers—whether ethno-nationalists Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka or nativist rabble rouser Ann Coulter or Christian reconstructionist Mike Huckabee—want to create a Fortress America and cut off the outside world….exactly the kind of medieval social vision that Saudi Arabia, thanks to influence of hardline Wahhabi clerics not dissimilar to Moore, embraced three decades ago.
On what Paul partisans might consider the other hand, why, there is a lot about Moore, as discussed on his campaign website issue page, where he seems in line with Paul. Moore says he is for:
Lower taxes, smaller government, and less spending…the reduction of taxes at all levels…Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, States' Rights, and our Bill of Rights are integral parts of the Constitution which we must observe…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….
We should not be entangled in foreign wars merely at the whim and caprice of a President…The federal government should not hamper the educational systems of the states as there is no authority for federal involvement under the Constitution….Competition between the states and freedom of various educational structures should be available to parents who are charged with the responsibility to teach their children…We must treat sovereign nations as we would want to be treated and stand with allies to protect and preserve our national security…..Respect for our strength is the best defense. "Walk softly and carry a big stick" is and should be our guide.
Even on purely economic policy, though, Moore is terrible on government-managed energy policy to wean off of "foreign oil" and against trade deals for protectionist, not purist free trader, reasons. He is also a immigration restrictionist willing to see government money wasted on a pointless border wall.
Then there is the stuff Moore seems to consider really important. In a 2002 Alabama Supreme Court case, the would-be senator declared that: "Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature's God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated. Such conduct violates both the criminal and civil laws of this State and is destructive to a basic building block of society-the family."
So even granted agreements on taxes, spending, and health care, one might think rampant theocratic rejection of the rights of Americans of a certain religion to serve in Congress or of a certain sexual orientation to marry, adopt, or walk the earth as free men and women might tip the balance against Moore to those respecting either the Constitution or just American liberty.
Moore's alleged respect for checks and balances in our constitutional order is as well skewed toward his own willful desire to insist his vision of God supersedes the Constitution, as see his supporting state establishment of religion by letting himself be booted off the Alabama bench in 2003 over his insistence on keeping a granite monument to the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court.
He was suspended from his re-won position on Alabama's Supreme Court last year for defying a federal court order regarding the overturning of Alabama's laws against same-sex marriage.
"Nearly any candidate running for office that isn't named Paul will likely give some aspect of Rand's folks heartburn," a political observer close to Paul noted today via email. Moore's positives from Paul's perspective likely include: "anti establishment and not beholden to anyone; focus on the constitution; would have voted with Rand on fake Obamacare repeals; has said foreign aid is unconstitutional; wants congress to exert its authority on war issues."
The observer notes that Paul doesn't seem to "believe there is one conditional/libertarian position on immigration, life and gay 'rights' (outside of protecting everyone's natural rights)."
While the latter is true, Moore's attitudes toward homosexual citizens goes far beyond merely not wanting them to have "special rights." Moore, as he declared from the bench in the that 2002 case, believes all American homosexuals who have a sex life in line with their preferences are for that very reason criminals. The Paul endorsement is a depressing sign of how much personal liberty America's political class, even the supposedly freedom-oriented ones, are willing to give up in exchange for lip service to tax cuts.
Paul's office had not responded for a request for comment on libertarian misgivings over Moore as of press time.