August 21st, 2003

Professional

The Alabama 10 commandments scandal

[ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 8/21/03 ]

Ala. justices overrule Moore, order monument removed
U.S. Supreme Court had refused to block federal court order

By JANITA POE and BILL RANKIN
In Montgomery and in Atlanta


The eight associate justices overruled Chief Justice Roy Moore on Thursday and directed that his Ten Commandments monument be in compliance with a federal court order for its removal from its public site in the Alabama Judicial Building.

The senior associate justice, Gorman Houston, said the eight instructed the building's manager to "take all steps necessary to comply ... as soon as practicable."

A federal judge has ruled the monument violates the constitution's ban on government promotion of religion and must be removed from its public place in the rotunda. Moore said he would not move it.

The associate justices wrote that they are "bound by solemn oath to follow the law, whether they agree or disagree with it."

The monument was briefly walled off from public view Thursday as the federal court deadline passed for the marker to be out of public sight. Then the plywood-like wall came down, displaying the monument again.
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Moore failed in his attempt to obtain a U.S. Supreme Court stay on the order. The high court, which rejected Moore's plea Wednesday, declined to be drawn into a dispute over whether the monument violated the Constitution's ban on government promotion of religion.

"The U.S. Supreme Court's denial of a stay today will not deter me from continuing to fight for the right of our state to acknowledge God as the moral foundation of our law," Moore said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. He said he still has other motions pending before the high court and also will file an appeal on the merits of the case.

The order for Moore to remove the monument was the result of a lawsuit filed last year by three attorneys who frequent the State Judicial Building. The attorneys, represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU of Alabama and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, challenged the monument's presence, saying it unlawfully promotes religion in a public building.
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"By his defiance of the court order, he is subjecting the people of Alabama to substantial fines for his conduct," Brownstein said. "He should resign from office. He is a disgrace to the bench."

Brownstein also said the plaintiffs have filed complaints against Moore before the Alabama Judiciary Commission for his statements that he will defy federal court orders. Moore and his attorneys are scheduled to appear before the judicial ethics panel in a private meeting Friday, Brownstein added.

"It looks like he's coming very rapidly to the end of his dead-end road," said Joe Conn, spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "He's now lost before every court that he's been in front of. That ought to be a message to him that he's headed down the wrong path."

Many in Montgomery on Wednesday disagreed, supporting Moore in his stand on keeping the Ten Commandments monument in place. Demonstrators -- some of them waving placards saying, "You God Haters: Why do you carry money In God We Trust?" and "Keep the Commandments. Dump the Feds." -- said they would continue the fight.
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Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, in a letter sent Wednesday to Jim Carns, minority leader of the state House of Representatives, said "the law is well established" that the state of Alabama would have to pay those fines.Collapse )
Pryor, who once voiced his support for the Ten Commandments monument in the State Judicial Building, has been nominated by President Bush to fill a vacancy on the 11th Circuit, which has upheld Thompson's order to have the monument removed.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Must vent...

From AJC Vent - http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/vent/index.html

Wednesday, August 20
    Maybe we should name blackouts for famous politicians.

    Let's lock abortion and gun advocates in a room and feed them only airline food until they come up with a reasonable balance of individual rights and protecting life.

    While I was growing up, it was polite to say, "Pardon me, miss, but your slip is showing." With today's fashions, I have had to change my approach to, "Pardon me, miss, but your gut is showing."


Thursday, August 21
    Every two weeks my husband brings home his pay. We refer to it as our reality check.


    All things come to those who wait, but I sent Mel Gibson a map to my house just to speed things up a little.

    I wish my cat's approach to problem-solving could work for me. When the world becomes too much for her, she goes under the bedcovers and stays until things straighten themselves out.

    The recent increase in traffic tells me one thing: You teachers need to car pool.

    I'm a divorce lawyer, and I say let gays get married. I need new business.