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The Supreme Court won’t be deciding the outcome of the pitched battle over
suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Ten Commandments monument.
Monument of Ten Commandments
Justices refused today to hear appeals seeking to put the 5,300-pound
granite cube back on display inside Alabama’s state capitol. WorldNetDaily reported the controversial monument nicknamed “Roy’s Rock” was removed Aug. 28 from the rotunda of the Judicial Building in Montgomery after Moore was suspended by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission for refusing to comply with a federal judge’s ordered removal. He is slated to be tried on judicial-ethics violations Nov. 12 before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
According to Alabama’s constitution, this court is made up of an appellate court judge, two judges of the circuit court and one district judge. It also includes two members of the state bar, two persons appointed by the governor (who are not lawyers) and another individual appointed by the lieutenant governor. The court has the authority, after giving notice and holding a public hearing, to remove from office, suspend without pay, censure or apply another sanction “as may be prescribed by law” against a judge for judicial-ethics violations, misconduct in office and failure to perform his duties.
Ten Commandments monument was moved Aug. 28 (Photo: Wsfa.com)
Reacting to the justices’ decision, Moore referenced a plaque that hangs over their heads inside the federal court building.
“It’s a little confusing when they open their court with ‘May God save the United States’ inside their court and then say you can’t acknowledge God. It does confuse one,” Moore said in a live television interview on Fox News Channel.
Last year a federal judge, U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson, ruled Moore’s monument violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution, which provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion; or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” He wrote in his opinion the monument was “nothing less than ‘an obtrusive year-round religious display.'”
Moore lost an appeal July 1 at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which paved the way for state contractors to dismantle the controversial Decalogue and haul it into a storage room.
The original suit against the monument brought by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union and the
Southern Poverty Law Center was on behalf of three Alabama lawyers who
argued the monument is offensive and caused them to feel like “outsiders.”
Moore installed the monument using private financing in August 2001,
announcing it depicts the “moral foundations of law” and reflects the
“sovereignty of God over the affairs of men.”
WorldNetDaily has reported the top of the monument is engraved with the
Ten Commandments as excerpted from the Book of Exodus in the King James Bible. The sides of the monument bear quotations from the Declaration
of Independence and smaller quotations from James Madison, William Blackstone, James Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Jay. Also included in the engravings is the National Motto, “In God We Trust,”
and quotations excerpted from the 1954 Pledge of Allegiance and the
Preamble to the Alabama Constitution.
In his appeal, Moore challenged the high court to settle the issue over the so-called “separation of church and state” many interpret the First Amendment as establishing.
“The only basis for separating the jurisdictions of church and state … comes from the Bible down through history,” Moore told Fox News. “God ordains the separate jurisdictions and gave them their separate authorities. It’s indeed the very basis of the First Amendment. … When a judge does not understand what the [Bible] means, he can’t interpret the law and ends up making the laws, by his own admission.”
Two years ago, the Supreme Court declined to hear another case involving the public display of the Ten Commandments at government buildings. At that time justices were split on the issue. Writing for himself and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote the monument “simply reflects the Ten Commandments’ role in the development of our legal system.”
Writing in opposition to the display, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the words “I am the Lord thy God” were “rather hard to square with the proposition that the monument expresses no particular religious preference,” referencing the inscription of the monument in question
The high court made no comment on Moore’s case as it announced its decision.
“The Supreme Court has once again demonstrated its hostility towards religion and missed an opportunity to clear up confusing lower court decisions dealing with the public display of the Ten Commandments,” said Richard Thompson, Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, in a statement responding to the court’s decision.
“Not only is the Court disregarding the plain text of the Constitution, the intent of our Founding Fathers, and the history of our nation, but by its action is disregarding the very words of our Declaration of Independence, which acknowledges that we are a nation
under God. We as a nation will pay the penalty for the Court turning its
back on God,” Thompson continued.
In its brief to the high court, the public-interest law center argued the “attack on the Ten Commandments” is based on the 1980 Supreme Court case of Stone v. Graham, in which a Kentucky law that required posting of the Ten Commandments on public school walls was ruled unconstitutional.
“In reaching its ‘cavalier’ opinion, the [Supreme] Court did not have the benefit of briefs or oral argument,” read the petition. “Yet lower federal courts have used this decision to remove Ten Commandment monuments throughout the nation. To date, the Supreme Court has not decided a case involving the Ten Commandments outside of a public school context.”
WorldNetDaily reported Moore’s battle to keep the Decalogue on display
garnered national attention as hundreds of protesters in support of Moore
gathered at the judicial building for several days prior to and after its removal.
“It is a sad day in our country when the moral foundation of our laws and
the acknowledgment of God has to be hidden from public view to appease a
federal judge,” protest organizer, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, said on the day of
the monument’s removal.
Moore declined subsequent offers to display the monument in Mississippi
and North Carolina.
Moore supporters remain undaunted by today’s development.
“In Alabama, we have just turned the first page in our quest on this issue. The Ten Commandments will not disappear and we will not disappear,” declared John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, in a statement. “Former President Thomas Jefferson would roll over in his grave, as he warned us of the potential day when our nation could be run by the courts. Judicial activism and tyranny have become the mainstay in our federal judiciary.”
The group plans a string of rallies coinciding with Moore’s trial next week.
“We will not allow this fine public servant to stand alone against the raging fires of judicial tyranny,” said Giles.
Moore also vows to continue the fight.
“The fight’s not over. We’re going to educate the people of this country as to the meaning of the First Amendment,” he said. “We’re going state-to-state to do it. If I have to do it on weekends, that’s what I’ll do.”
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.