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An examination of the man who placed the Ten Commandments in the Alabama supreme court building and defied tyrannical federal judges who demanded he remove the monument.

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Conservative Spotlight: Roy Moore

An examination of the man who placed the Ten Commandments in the Alabama supreme court building and defied tyrannical federal judges who demanded he remove the monument.

“Chief Justice Roy Moore, while serving as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, did fail to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary as required by Canon 1 of the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics in that, in the circumstances described in paragraphs 1-21, he willfully failed to comply with an existing and binding court order directed to him.” So says the first charge against Roy Moore brought by the state Judicial Inquiry Commission before the state Court of the Judiciary. Chief Justice Moore dared to resist the unconstitutional demands of tyrannical federal judges who insisted that his stone monument of the Ten Commandments, installed in the rotunda of the Alabama supreme court building, somehow violated the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution even though the monument did not involve Congress, making a law, or establishing a religion.

“In 1995, when Chief Justice Moore was a circuit judge, he displayed a small handmade wooden plaque of the Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall,” says the Foundation for Moral Law, a group with which Moore works. “He was sued by the ACLU whose desire was to force the removal of the plaque, and, more specifically, any public display of the Ten Commandments. The ACLU failed, and Judge Moore continued to display the Ten Commandments. . . . Shortly after his election to the Alabama Supreme Court, Chief Justice Moore installed a monument in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.”

This time, leftist federal judges got their way, and Moore’s monument has been moved into a closet at the supreme court building, though Moore has last-ditch petitions pending before the U.S. Supreme Court to bring the monument back into the light of day. Moore refused to obey the federal judges’ despotic decrees, but other Alabama officials complied with the order, and Moore himself has been barred from sitting as a justice until a November 12 hearing of the Court of the Judiciary on the charges against him.

“I think you’ve got to base your rulings on the law that you’re sworn to uphold,” said Moore in a recent interview. “That law is contained not only in your state statutory law, but in the United States Constitution. And I think that that Constitution and the laws of your state incorporate God’s law. Indeed, the moral questions we face are all grounded in Scripture and recognized in case law.” Not only that, but the Alabama state constitution specifically requires him to recognize God, said Moore-who believes he must obey the law rather than men, even tyrannical federal judges. “In the establishment of the justice system, there is a basic trait of sovereignty. In other words if you, if you have a sovereign state, one of the essential things to do to regulate the health, safety and welfare of your citizenry is to pass laws,” he said. “And to pass laws you’ve got to assure that these laws are applied equally and without discrimination, so you establish a justice system. Which justice system in Alabama, is established invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God [in the state constitution].”

Moore, who is fond of reeling off memorized quotes from Founding Fathers and leading American jurists, is an Alabama native who attended West Point and served in Vietnam. He hesitated to assert that the incorporation doctrine-the court-invented notion that has allowed the federal courts to impose creatively reinterpreted parts of the Bill of Rights, including the 1st Amendment, on state governments-should be done away with. “The incorporation doctrine has caused a lot of confusion because they’ve got the justices to say, well, we’ve got partial incorporation and you know, they incorporate what they want and what they don’t want, they don’t incorporate,” he said.

Moore, through the Foundation for Moral Law, has offered his two-and-a-half ton monument to Congress, which he hopes will place “Roy’s Rock” in its own rotunda. So far, congressional leaders have not responded.

Moore believes that the 1st Amendment and the Founding Fathers’ understanding of religion makes perfectly clear what is impermissible for government to do. “How you perform your religious duties is outside of government interference,” he said. “That gives you freedom of conscience. Carry it to the extreme if you want to go out and bow down to the sun god three times a day, it’s still your relationship to God. It’s just how you perform that. I might think you are crazy and unjustified, but it’s still your relationship to God. It is still your right.” Then he added, “Now if you want to go kill babies or something, that’s different.”

Moore may be reached c/o the Foundation for Moral Law, P.O. Box 610330, Birmingham, Ala. 35261 (866-317-0800; fax: 205-833-1200; e-mail: info@morallaw.org; website: www.morallaw.org).

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Written By

Mr. D'Agostino, former associate editor of HUMAN EVENTS, is vice president for Communications at the Population Research Institute.

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