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Moore: 'Absolutely no regrets'

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

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Chief Justice William Thompson reads the verdict against Roy Moore.
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Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore reacts to being removed from office.
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MONTGOMERY, Alabama (CNN) -- A nine-judge panel unanimously voted to remove Roy Moore from his position as Alabama state Supreme Court chief justice Thursday, midway through his term.

The judicial ethics panel removed him for defying a federal judge's order to move a Ten Commandments stone monument from the state judicial building's rotunda. After hearing the ruling, Moore joined CNN anchor Miles O'Brien on CNN's Live From.

O'BRIEN: How do you like hearing it that way, as "former Justice Moore"?

MOORE: Well, of course, Miles, I don't like to hear it that way, but I guess that's the way it's going to be right now.

We're still pursuing maybe an appeal in this case to the Supreme Court, and then maybe more than that. But we'll take their verdict right now, knowing that it's completely adverse to our (state) Constitution, and our Constitution of the United States.

O'BRIEN: Why will you continue to appeal this? Why continue the fight?

MOORE: Well, because it's very wrong for a public official to be excluded from his office because of his religious beliefs and the acknowledgement of God. The acknowledgement of God is a predicate upon which this nation and our country was founded. It's contained in the First Amendment. The very first amendment gives us the right to acknowledge God. And our state Constitution says that our justice system is established upon God. That's what this issue is about, whether or not a state official can acknowledge God, and the court said we cannot.

O'BRIEN: Mr. Moore, isn't it more about how the justice system works, and how you knowingly, willingly, defiantly thumbed your nose at that justice system and its rules?

MOORE: Absolutely not, sir. It's the way the justice system works, you're correct. What is the rule of law? Is it the rule of a court? Is it the rule of a judge that's unelected and unrepentant of his behavior toward the Constitution of the United States? I think that it is about the Constitution. It is about what the rule of law is. And the rule of law is ...

O'BRIEN: Mr. Moore, if other judges had thumbed their noses on some of your orders from your previous perch, how would you have reacted to that?

MOORE: Judges, or anyone else, should thumb their nose at an unlawful order. Indeed, (U.S. Army) Lt. (William) Calley in the '60s was prosecuted for killing innocent civilians at My Lai because he said he followed the orders of his superior officer, when indeed, the court said you shouldn't follow an unlawful order, and indeed today, we should not follow unlawful orders of federal judges who undermine the constitutions of our state and our nation, and that's exactly what's happening in the federal judiciary.

O'BRIEN: You're a very popular man in Alabama. Lots of talk about how this has laid the groundwork for a potential political campaign for yourself. Have you contemplated that? Do you have any thoughts about it? Or will you in fact, as we've reported just a few moments ago, run for your old job?

MOORE: Well, I don't know what I'll do in the future. We'll make that decision in the future. But right now, we're just going to take each day at a time and realize that we're not apologetic for upholding the oath of our office. That's, indeed, our duty, and we'll continue to do that.

O'BRIEN: Do you have any regrets at all in picking this fight?

MOORE: Absolutely no regrets. We've done what we swore to do. When I took office, I said I would uphold the moral foundation of our law. That I have done. I have not denied God. That's exactly what they asked me to do to hold office, and I said I could not. They removed me.


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