For Roy Moore, a Long History of Combat and Controversy

GADSDEN, Ala. — It was 1982, and four circuit judges from rural Etowah County, Ala., had filed a state bar complaint against a lawyer named Roy S. Moore, accusing him of running “slanderous” political ads that had portrayed the local legal system as corrupt.

The response from the 35-year-old Mr. Moore, who had just lost his own effort to win a judgeship, was infused with the kind of crusading righteousness — his critics would call it sanctimony — that would later fuel his rise to national fame.

“If the judges of Etowah County are personally offended, that is their problem, not mine,” he declared in a letter addressing the judges’ complaint. Mr. Moore added a line from Proverbs: “The guilty flee when no man pursueth.”

Today, rather than flee, or at least quit his race for the Senate, as many are demanding, Mr. Moore is declaring his innocence and charging



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