Federal Appeals Court Rejects Ten Commandments Monument

A federal appeals court yesterday unanimously ruled that a 2.5-ton monument of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court was unconstitutional. The appeals court judges compared the monument’s champion, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, to “those Southern governors who attempted to defy federal court orders during an earlier era,” such as segregationist George Wallace, according to the New York Times. “This is a clear message from the courts. Thou shalt not merge church and state,” said Ayesha Khan of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who argued the case. “Justice Moore is fighting a losing battle, and it’s time for him to stop wasting Alabama taxpayers’ money on this case.”

Moore’s lawyer vowed to appeal the case to the US Supreme Court, saying that Moore “believes that what he is doing is not only constitutional but required by his oath of office, according to the Times. A New York Times editorial today called for Alabama voters to vote against Moore if he chooses to run for office again. “Mr. Moore’s religious grandstanding, and his disregard for the United States Constitution and federal sovereignty, would be offensive in any state official. But they are utterly unacceptable for the highest judicial officer in a state,” the Times editorial board wrote.

Moore is no stranger to controversy. Last year, he was heavily criticized by lesbian and gay rights groups for writing that homosexuality is “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature” in a decision denying a lesbian mother custody of her children.

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New York Times 7/2/03; Americans United press release 7/1/03; Feminist Daily News Wire 2/19/02

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