As Brian wrote last week, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s judicial philosophy is closely tied to the work of Michael Peroutka, a Maryland-based activist and longtime member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, who has been a major funder of Moore’s campaigns and activism.
Although Peroutka quit the League of the South last year during a successful campaign for a Republican seat on the Anne Arundel County Council, claiming he was unaware of the group’s racist views, he has for years been a fixture at the group’s events, including leading the group in the “national anthem” of “Dixie” in 2012, the year before he was elected to join the organization’s board.
Peroutka was even less guarded about his Confederate sympathies in a 2004 speech to a League of the South event in Montgomery, Alabama, which the group posted online in 2012. At the time, Peroutka was running for president on the Constitution Party ticket, a spot that Moore had been offered but passed up.
In the speech, Peroutka tried to appeal to the neo-Confederate group by reminding them that his home state of Maryland “was below the Mason-Dixon line.” Referring to the 1861 arrest of pro-Confederate members of the Maryland legislature, he added, “And we would have seceded if they hadn’t locked up 51 members of our legislature. And by the way, I’m still angry about that.”
Peroutka went on to boast to the group that his children were carrying on his views, his daughter by refusing to play “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in her school band and his son by referring to the Confederate battle flag as “the American flag.”
He added that his daughter, Elizabeth, who now helps to run the family’s foundation, was known by her peers as “Beth Booth” after John Wilkes Booth.
Even in 2004, Peroutka was extolling Moore, crediting the judge for inspiring him to run for office and boasting that he had Moore’s support because “we believe the same things.”