News & Politics

Roy Moore Says Kneeling for the National Anthem is Breaking the Law

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks during his election party, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Do you want to know why Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, a Republican running in one of the most Republican states in the union, is neck and neck with a Democrat no one has ever heard of?

Here’s a hint.


Senate candidate Roy Moore believes that professional athletes who take a knee during the national anthem are breaking the law.

In an interview with TIME magazine, the Alabama Republican argued that NFL players and others who have protested police violence are violating a section of the U.S. code which outlines how people should conduct themselves when the anthem is played. (The code merely outlines proper etiquette, and there are no legal penalties outlined in the law.)

“It’s against the law, you know that?” he said. “It was a act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”

Maybe Alabamians don’t want an ignoramus for a senator.

Robby Soave at Hit and Run explains:

The former judge—who was twice removed from office for his conservative culture war agenda, contrary to the law—told TIME magazine that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are actually breaking the law.

“It’s against the law, you know that?” said Moore. “It was a act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”

It isn’t. That’s completely wrong, actually.

Moore is probably referring to a section of the U.S. code that recommends standing for the national anthem, removing headgear, and placing one’s hand over one’s heart. But the code does not require people to do this, and if it did, the Supreme Court would undoubtedly strike it down.

“It’s not clear to me that 36 U.S.C. 301 was ever meant to be legally binding — it says what people ‘should’ do rather than what they ‘shall’ or ‘must’ do,” Eugene Volokh, a University of California-Los Angeles law professor and blogger at The Washington Posttold CBS. “But if it did aim at being legally binding, the First Amendment would prevent it from being enforced.”

What is it about the First Amendment that loony lefties and crazy conservatives can’t stand? It’s one thing to spout this nonsense in an email chain or on an idiotic website. But this guy is running for the United States Senate — and while being a lawyer is not a requirement for the job, you would think that a basic understanding of what our freedoms are might be a prerequisite for being qualified to pass laws.

The special election to fill the seat of Jeff Sessions, who resigned from the Senate to become attorney general, isn’t until December 12. And given the huge registration advantage of Republicans, Moore is still going to win comfortably.

Unless, of course, Moore continues to open his mouth to spout utter nonsense.