Photo: Brynn Anderson / AP

Roy Moore, the GOP's nominee in Alabama's special Senate election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was alleged today in a report by The Washington Post to have sexually assaulted a 14-year-old in 1979 while he was 32. The report also claims that Moore pursued multiple other relationships with teenage girls at the time.

Why it matters: Moore is one of the most controversial and conservative politicians in America, known for his unbending stances on social issues. He had twice lost his position as the Chief Justice of Alabama's Supreme Court — once by removal, once by resignation — after his refusal to back down on federal directives on cases relating to religion and sexuality.

Moore's backstory
  • He attended West Point and the University of Alabama Law School, returning to his hometown to begin a private law practice in 1977. From there, he entered the local district attorney's office, eventually became a state circuit judge in 1992, and was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001.
  • Moore was removed as the Chief Justice in 2003 after he refused to remove a stone monument of the Ten Commandments that he had commissioned and placed outside the state's main courthouse, defying a federal court order.
  • Moore was reelected as Chief Justice in 2013, but refused to acknowledge the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage in 2016 by directing his probate judges to enforce Alabama's marriage ban. That decision led to his suspension in May 2016 and his resignation in April 2017 — when he decided to pursue the open Alabama Senate seat.
Moore in his own words
  • On the separation of church and state: "The Church's role should be separated from the state's role. That is the definition of separation of church and state. But separation of church and state was never meant to separate God and government."
  • On homosexuality: "Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes." Moore then compared homosexuality to bestiality — and, when asked if homosexuality was the same as bestiality, he responded, "It is a moral precept upon which this country was founded."
  • On the September 11 attacks: "You know, we've suffered a lot in this country. Maybe, just maybe, because we've distanced ourselves from the one that has it within his hands to heal this land."
  • On Islam: "False religions like Islam who teach that you must worship this way are completely opposite with what our First Amendment stands for."
  • On Islam, part 2: When Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim, used a Koran for his swearing-in ceremony, Moore wrote, "In 1943, we would never have allowed a member of Congress to take their oath on Mein Kampf, or someone in the 1950s to swear allegiance to the Communist Manifesto."
  • On evolution: "There's no such thing as evolution. That we came from a snake? No I don't believe that."
  • On Barack Obama's birthplace: In 2009, Moore said, "Now, I haven't seen one thing in the press about this, and yet the President of the United States will not produce his birth certificate. That's very strange indeed. Why we don't hear about it — because the press won't report it."

Go deeper

CRISPR co-discoverer on the gene editor's pandemic push

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired and BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating the development of CRISPR-based tests for detecting disease — and highlighting how gene-editing tools might one day fight pandemics, one of its discoverers, Jennifer Doudna, tells Axios.

Why it matters: Testing shortages and backlogs underscore a need for improved mass testing for COVID-19. Diagnostic tests based on CRISPR — which Doudna and colleagues identified in 2012, ushering in the "CRISPR revolution" in genome editing — are being developed for dengue, Zika and other diseases, but a global pandemic is a proving ground for these tools that hold promise for speed and lower costs.

Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 18,912,947 — Total deaths: 710,318— Total recoveries — 11,403,473Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 4,867,916 — Total deaths: 159,841 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi rips GOP over stimulus negotiations: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn" — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive.
  4. Public health: Majority of Americans say states reopened too quicklyFauci says task force will examine aerosolized spread.
  5. Business: The health care sector imploded in Q2More farmers are declaring bankruptcyJuly's jobs report could be an inflection point for the recovery.
  6. Sports: Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing.

America's rush for young poll workers

Note: Colorado is a mail-in ballot state, but they also offer in-person polls.; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Local elections officials are sprinting to recruit younger poll workers ahead of November after elderly staff stayed home en masse to avoid coronavirus during primary elections.

Why it matters: A Pew Research analysis reports that 58% of U.S. poll workers in the 2018 midterms were 61 or older. Poll worker shortages can cause hours-long voting lines and shutter precincts.