Ala. justice ousted over 10 Commandments wins back post

Republican Roy Moore defeated Democrat Bob Vance, a circuit judge, in Tuesday's election for the Supreme Court seat. Moore won 52 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to local media.

MOBILE, Ala., Nov 7 - A former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was removed from office nine years ago for refusing to take down a Ten Commandments monument has won back his job.

Republican Roy Moore defeated Democrat Bob Vance, a circuit judge, in Tuesday's election for the Supreme Court seat. Moore won 52 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to local media.

Alabama voters also rejected a ballot measure to strip racist language from the state constitution.

Moore was ousted from office in 2003 for refusing to take down a two-ton monument of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda in the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery. He was first elected to the chief justice job in 2000.

In a legal fight that drew national attention, a federal judge ruled Moore was placing himself above the law and violating the U.S. Constitution by refusing to remove the religious monument, and the Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously removed him from office.

Moore began his comeback in March, when he pulled off a surprise victory over both the current chief justice and a former state attorney general who had been favored to win the Republican primary.

Moore has said he will not do anything to create further friction with the federal courts - including bringing back the disputed monument.

"God is great," Moore told Reuters on Tuesday night. "He has directed us throughout this campaign and it shows. Compared to the millions spent against us, it's a really big victory."