Eight associate justices of Alabama’s Supreme Court overruled Chief Justice Roy Moore in his effort to keep a Ten Commandments monument at the state’s judicial building despite a court order for its removal.
The associate justices wrote they are “bound by solemn oath to follow the law, whether they agree or disagree with it,” according to WSFA-TV in Montgomery, Ala., the state’s capital.
Protester dragged away by police for refusing to leave Alabama judicial building (Photo: WSFA.com)
At a press conference this afternoon on the steps of the court building, however, Moore remained resolute.
“Let me assure you. The fight to defend our constitutional rights to acknowledge God must and will continue,” he told reporters.
Moore said he is preparing a new petition to the U.S. Supreme Court “to resolve clearly our inalienable rights to acknowledge God under the First Amendment.”
On Tuesday, the high court rejected his appeal to stay U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson’s Aug. 5 order to remove the washing machine-sized granite monument by midnight yesterday. Thompson had ruled it violates the Constitution’s ban on government establishment of religion and must be removed from its public place in the rotunda.
Thompson has said he could fine the state about $5,000 a day for violating the order, but Moore insists there is a larger issue.
“The point is, it’s not about violation of order, it’s about violation of my oath of office,” Moore told Fox News last night. “And my oath of office to the Constitution requires an acknowledgment of God. It’s that simple.”
Yesterday afternoon, 22 protesters who refused to leave the state judicial building when security personnel closed the doors were arrested at the site of the monument.
One man had to be dragged away, according to WSFA-TV. Most of the 21 protesters who ended up in jail posted $100 bond, but four refused to give their social security numbers and will appear before a district judge.
A state website says the state judicial complex is closed to walk-in traffic until Monday.
Moore supporters gathered last night in Montgomery (Photo: WSFA.com)
Later last night, speakers, including former ambassador and presidential candidate Alan Keyes, exhorted supporters in downtown Montgomery to stand their ground.
Everyone in America needs to show the same kind of courage Moore is showing, Keyes said, according to WSFA.
“Moore is showing reverence for the authority of almighty God,” Keyes declared.
Supporters continued to gather on the judicial building steps today. Many come from out of state.
Meanwhile, senior Alabama Associate Justice Gorman Houston said the justices have instructed the judicial building’s manager to “take all steps necessary to comply” with the removal order “as soon as practicable.”
Alabama Attorney General William Pryor commended the justices for being “faithful to the rule of law.”
Ten Commandments monument at Alabama judicial building (Photo: WSFA.com)
“There has been a lot of talk about the rule of law in recent days,” he said. “The law means that no person, including the chief justice, is above the law.”
Pryor said he is hopeful the Alabama Supreme Court’s order will make the threatened $5,000 daily fine against the state a non-issue.
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said because of the state’s financial situation, “the associate justices took the only responsible course of action.”
Riley commended Pryor for ensuring that “the rule of law prevails in Alabama.”
But the governor said he was prepared to file a brief in support of Moore’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Once this case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and the lower courts’ rulings have been reversed, we should not waste one second of time returning the monument to the rotunda,” he said.
“Today is a sad day in Alabama,” the governor said. “Because of a series of what I believe to be erroneous federal court rulings, the Ten Commandments monument has been ordered removed from the Alabama Judicial Building. Although I fundamentally disagree with what the federal courts have ordered, the State Supreme Court was correct in unanimously voting to uphold the rule of law.”
Moore has been ordered to appear before the State Judicial Inquiry Commission tomorrow in Montgomery. A complaint has been filed contending his defiance of a federal court order to remove the monument violates the state’s Canons of Judicial Ethics.
If the commission files charges with the State Court of the Judiciary, Moore will be automatically suspended from office, with pay, and Houston will assume the duties of chief justice, WSFA reported.
Today’s order by the justices relieves them of any disciplinary action by the commission.
Moore wrote a treatise on his battle to retain the monument in the July issue of Whistleblower magazine, WND’s monthly print publication.
In the August issue, entitled “LAW-LESS: Why many Americans fear attorneys and judges more than terrorists,” Roy Moore is the subject of an in-depth profile. Subscribe to Whistleblower magazine.