SIOUX CITY - Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore received a standing ovation Thursday in Sioux City, his first local appearance since announcing he was exploring a run for president.
He received the ovation from a crowd of approximately 150 people at a lecture series by Morningside College professor Sam Clovis. On Monday, the former justice announced he was forming an exploratory committee for the nation's highest office.
"I understand it's pretty rare for a judge to run for president, but, having been a judge for many years and chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I know the Constitution," Moore said. "Every federal, state official -- legislative, executive, and judicial -- are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. And you can't uphold something you don't understand."
Moore acknowledged many are vying for the Republican presidential nomination, but said his military and judicial experience enable him to address what he called the lack of leadership in the country.
"I think that we need proper leadership in this country," Moore said, "politicians who stick by principles and not by power. Somebody who's not afraid to take a stand and do what they say and say what they do."
In 2003, Moore gained national attention when he was removed from his position as chief justice for refusing a federal judge's order to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments.
Dana Adamson, of Sioux City, said Moore already stands out from his fellow Republican contenders for his stands on social and fiscal issues.
"I don't know that they've all anted up, but right now I think he's one of the best of the best," she said.
No stranger to Iowa, Moore made several appearances in the state last year, including in Sioux City, to urge Christians to get involved in the election, particularly the issue involving three Iowa Supreme Court justices seeking retention. The three justices, who all failed to hold onto their seats in November, were under fire from conservative groups for their part in a unanimous decision that led to allowing gay marriage in Iowa.
He was the latest of several Republican nominees to visit Siouxland recently, including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, ex-Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and businessman Herman Cain.