A federal judge delivered an order yesterday demanding the removal of a 2.5-ton monument to the Ten Commandments on display in the rotunda of Alabama’s Supreme Court. US District Court Judge Myron Thompson, backed by a federal appeals court ruling affirming his decision, gave Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore until Aug. 20 to remove the statue. Thompson delivered the order to the associate justices on the state Supreme Court as well as Gov. Bob Riley and Attorney General William Pryor.
Moore has fought for the Ten Commandments monument ever since he had it installed in the rotunda in the middle of the night in 2001. “Judge Thompson is going ballistic and overreaching his authority,” Tom Parker, a spokesman for Moore, told the Associated Press. Suggesting that Moore may disregard his order, Thompson told the Boston Globe that “at this time” he did not foresee “an opportunity for any physical confrontation between federal and state officials or between federal officials and anyone else” to enforce the order.
Alabama Attorney General William Pryor has openly supported the placement of the Ten Commandments monument, seeing no violation of the Constitution’s separation of church and state. His nomination by President Bush to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is currently being blocked by a Democratic filibuster in the Senate because of Pryor’s far-right, extremist views on religion, women’s rights, lesbian and gay rights, and reproductive rights.