The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to withhold funds from any enforcement action related to a federal appeals court’s decision that the Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama judicial building is unconstitutional.
By a vote of 260-161, lawmakers last week OK’d an amendment by Rep. John N. Hostettler, R-Ind., to prohibit any money in the bill funding the Justice Department from going to enforcement of the controversial decision.
Monument of Ten Commandments
As WorldNetDaily reported, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, lost an appeal July 1 at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a lower court’s decision that a washing machine-sized granite monument of the Ten Commandments in the public building must be removed because it violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The original suit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“If we adopted his position, the chief justice would be free to adorn the walls of the Alabama Supreme Court’s courtroom with sectarian religious murals and have decidedly religious quotations painted above the bench,” the three-judge panel said in its ruling.
“I will personally petition the United States Supreme Court as chief justice of this state to hear me on this matter,” Moore said in a statement.
The Fulton County Daily Report quotes Hostettler on the House floor saying: “The [appeals] court plainly shows that it believes itself to be the chief lawmaker whose orders become law.”
Hostettler continued: “It might be suggested that we do not want this legislation to disrupt the judicial process in the interim between the Circuit Court of Appeals process and the Supreme Court. It is not my intention to do that tonight. In fact, I welcome the highest court’s review of this decision; and I say tonight that if they get it wrong, I will exercise the power of the purse again and defund the enforcement of that inane decision.”
According to the paper’s report, Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., was unconvinced Hostettler’s amendment would have any effect whatsoever on enforcement.
“I would suggest that rather than offering amendments … if we want to protect the Ten Commandments, we will simply start by following them in our own lives and in our own careers,” the report quotes Obey as saying.
Some outside the House also were skeptical of the amendment.
“Congress can’t prevent the president from enforcing core executive functions,” one of which is enforcing court rulings, Ronald Klain, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C., and a former counselor to Vice President Al Gore and Attorney General Janet Reno, told the Fulton County Daily Report.
The appropriations bill now is pending in the U.S. Senate.
In a statement, Barry W. Lynn, who heads Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said, “It is completely outrageous for the House to try to interfere in this way with ongoing court cases dealing with sensitive questions about the Bill of Rights. I am confident the Senate will not go along with this extreme measure.”
Moore wrote a treatise on his battle to retain the monument in the July issue of Whistleblower magazine, WND’s monthly print publication.
The August issue of Whisteblower magazine, WND’s offline companion, takes on the American legal system. Entitled “LAW-LESS: Why many Americans fear attorneys and judges more than terrorists,” the issue takes a no-holds-barred look at corruption in the courts. Subscribe now at ShopNetDaily.