federal judge orders ten commandments display removed from courthouse
- The following article, attributed to Bob Johnson of The Associated Press,
appeared on page A3 of the Wednesday, July 2, 2003 edition of The Arizona
JUDGE LOSES SECULAR MONUMENT APPEAL
Montgomery, Alabama--A federal Appeals Court ruled Tuesday that Alabama Chief
Justice Roy Moore is not above "the rule of law" and must remove a Ten
Commandments monument the size of a washing machine from the lobby of the
state judicial building.
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta
unanimously affirmed an order from U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson that
the monument violates the Constitution's prohibition on government promotion
of religion. Thompson had ordered the monument removed from the building
but delayed the order while Moore appealed.
A spokesman for Moore said the chief justice would appeal to the U.S.
Supreme Court. It is unclear whether the monument will stay in place during
The Appeals Court panel cited U.S. Supreme Court rulings saying that
government may not promote or affiliate itself with any religious doctrine
"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 panel wrote.
Moore put the monument in the building in the middle of the night on July 31,
2001. The 5,300 pound monument features tablets bearing the Ten Commandments
and historical quotations about the place of God in law.