By Kelli Dugan
MOBILE, Ala (Reuters) - A former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who was famously booted from his post for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a state courthouse said on Tuesday he would run again for his old job.
Roy Moore, 64, announced his bid ahead of a March 13 Republican primary from the steps of the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, the same building in whose rotunda he placed a 5,280-pound granite monument of the biblical codes shortly after he was elected chief justice in 2000.
The installation drew intense opposition from proponents of the separation of church and state, and resulted in a legal challenge.
A federal judge ultimately ruled the chief judge was placing himself above the law and violating the U.S. Constitution by refusing to remove the monument, and Moore was removed from the state's high court in 2003.
Moore has since mounted two unsuccessful gubernatorial bids in Alabama, failing both times to win the Republican nomination, and in June abandoned pursuit of a possible presidential bid.
He has spent most of the past eight years on the lecture circuit and penned a book, "So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, and the Battle for Religious Freedom."
He also founded the Montgomery-based Foundation for Moral Law and currently serves as the nonprofit's president. On its website, the foundation lists a two-fold mission to represent "individuals involved in religious liberties cases" and to "teach the necessity and importance of acknowledging God in law and government."
Moore faces current Chief Justice Chuck Malone and former Alabama Attorney General Charlie Graddick in the Republican primary. There currently are no Democratic or independent candidates in the race.
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Johnston)