Alabama Supreme Court Ten Commandments display ruled unconstitutional
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's 5,300-pound Ten Commandments monument an unconstitutional state establishment of religion.
"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," a three-judge panel from the court wrote.
Every government building could be topped with a cross, or a menorah, or a statue of Buddha, depending upon the views of the officials with authority over the premises. A crèche could occupy the place of honor in the lobby or rotunda of every municipal, county, state, and federal building. Proselytizing religious messages could be played over the public address system in every government building at the whim of the official in charge of the premises. However appealing those prospects may be to some, the position Chief Justice Moore takes is foreclosed by Supreme Court precedent.
The court also rejected Moore's argument that he is answerable only to the Constitution, not "to a higher judicial authority in the performance of his duties as administrative head of the state judicial system." "There is nothing in law or logic to support his theory," the court said, comparing him to segregation-era Southern governors George C. Wallace and Ross Barnett. "Any notion of high government officials being above the law did not save those governors from having to obey federal court orders, and it will not save this chief justice from having to comply with the court order in this case."
Last week, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ...1
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