Skip to comments.Judge (Moore) Appeals Call to Remove Decalogue
Posted on 12/10/2002 10:56:29 AM PST by Dallas
MONTGOMERY, Ala. --
Chief Justice Roy Moore filed notice Tuesday in federal court that he will appeal a judge's order that he remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.
"Federal district courts have no jurisdiction or authority to prohibit the acknowledgment of God that is specifically recognized in the Constitution of Alabama," Moore said in a statement announcing the appeal.
Moore's spokesman, Tom Parker, read the statement at a news conference Tuesday in front of the 5,300-pound granite monument.
"For a federal court to say we cannot acknowledge God contradicts our history and our law," Moore said in the statement. He did not attend the news conference.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson's order found the monument violates the Constitution's ban against government establishment of religion and gave Moore 30 days to remove it.
One of Moore's attorneys, Phillip Jauregui, said part of the chief justice's appeal would be based on the argument that Thompson did not have jurisdiction.
But an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, Richard Cohen, said plaintiffs would win again on appeal.
"I think what we heard today echoed of George Wallace," Cohen said. "He said the federal courts have no authority to order him to do anything Alabama law doesn't require him to do. Whatever views Moore has about this, federal law is supreme."
The notice of plans to appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta was filed in federal district court in Montgomery.
Moore moved the monument into the rotunda in the middle of the night on July 31, 2001, with a film crew from Coral Ridge Ministries documenting the event. Moore, a conservative Christian, attracted national attention as a circuit judge in Gadsden when he refused to remove a wooden Ten Commandments display from a courtroom wall. During his campaign for chief justice, Moore was often referred to as "The Ten Commandments judge."
A lawsuit was filed in October 2001 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three Alabama lawyers who said the monument violated the constitution.
During a weeklong trial in October, Moore testified that he believes the Ten Commandments to be the foundation of American law. He said he installed the monument, which also includes quotations from historical figures, partly because of his concern that the country has suffered a moral decline over the past 40 or 50 years as a result of federal court rulings, including those against prayer in public schools.
True enough. The only part of the 14th Amendment that might be considered relevant in this case is Section 1:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
This can be, and has been, twisted to imply federal jurisdiction over matters otherwise reserved to the states (see the Tenth Amendment), however, that is clearly NOT what this amendment establishes. There is no language in the amendment that expands the powers of Congress or the federal Executive whatsoever, except for specific enforcement of the provisions of the amendment.
The "equal protection of the laws" clause may be misinterpreted to have bearing on the matter of states and religion, but, to be reasonable, such an argument must demonstrate that state acts regarding religion somehow abridge equal protection under the law.
I have seen nothing in this case that suggests that this is the cause for action, nor that there is any valid cause for action.
As far as I can determine, there is no valid case here.
It's well established that any seperation of church and state only applies at the federal level. States are supposed to be able to do whatever they want.
If "states supposed to to be able to do whatever they want," what is to prevent them from establishing a religion, or to give preference to one religion over another?
States have their own constitutions which set the parameters. Some states (like Texas) are stricter than the U.S. constitution in protecting against discrimination.
Um, I think you misunderstood me. The "judge" to whom I was referring was the "judge" mentioned in the passage I quoted. That would be the "judge" who declared the monument is unconstitutional. That "judge" is attempting to make law to (quoting from the Constitution) "prohibit the free exercise thereof."
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The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, made binding upon the States through the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that government "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
This, of course, is the essence of their opinion: that the 14th Amendment extends the restrictions placed upon Congress in the 1st Amendment to the states. As I have stated in earlier posts, I consider this to be a very thin argument, at best. Such an interpretation effectively holds the 10th Amendment moot in the face of the 14th Amendment, an interpretation which is not supported by the wording of the 14th Amendment itself.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the current Supreme Court supports this broad interpretation of the "anti-slavery" amendment.
Ooops, sorry, I did. I profusely apologize. : )
I remember this as a fairly ugly moment, and Dean Young went after Rabbi Vineburg in the presence of not only members of the county board who were to vote on putting the Ten Commandments on the courthouse grounds, but also in the presence of the press. The movement to put the Ten Commandments all but died that day.
However, you didn't answer my question. Want to tackle it now?
Comparing the fight to keep the Ten Commandments on display to George Wallace's desperate fight for racist segregation is so perverse I can't find the words.
The U.S. would never allow a rogue state to implement what your suggesting.
Then no federal employee, military or civilian, should be allowed to carry their Bible to work and read it? No mention of the name "Jesus Christ" should be stated at any time in a federal building, because that would be a clear establishment of a nation-wide religion?
The logical outreach of your opinion simply does not work. Besides, Judge Moore is a state judge, not federal.
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