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Update on 10 Commandments Monument Controversy

post #1 of 3
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From CNN


MONTGOMERY, Alabama (CNN) -- Alabama's judicial ethics panel removed Chief Justice Roy Moore from office Thursday for defying a federal judge's order to move a stone Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building.

The nine-member Court of the Judiciary issued its unanimous decision after a one-day trial Wednesday. The panel, which includes judges, lawyers and non-lawyers, could have reprimanded Moore, continued his suspension or cleared him.

Moore said he was not surprised by the decision, which he called a step toward "prohibiting the public worship of God."

"I have absolutely no regrets," he said. "I have done what I was sworn to do. I have said repeatedly that unless we can acknowledge God, we can not uphold the oath of our office."

A federal judge in Montgomery ruled the 2.6-ton granite monument was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and ordered Moore to move it from the rotunda of the state judicial building in August. Moore refused, but was overruled by his eight colleagues on the state Supreme Court. (Full story)

The U.S. Supreme Court on November 3 refused to hear Moore's appeal in the case. (Full story)

"In defying that order, the chief justice placed himself above the law," said Judge William Thompson, head of the Court of the Judiciary.

The panel also found that Moore "showed no signs of contrition for his actions."

Moore said he would discuss the possibility of an appeal with his lawyers and could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review his removal, arguing that it violates the Constitution's ban on religious tests as a qualification for office.

Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor had filed the ethics charges against Moore after the chief justice refused U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson's order to remove the monument. Thompson ruled the monument was an unconstitutional promotion of religion by government in violation of the First Amendment.

Moore had demanded a televised trial in a larger venue than the Supreme Court courtroom, and said Wednesday's proceedings amounted to a closed hearing.

After Thursday's decision, he criticized the court for not opening the hearing and suggested that Pryor had changed his position on the issue for political gain.

Moore read comments Pryor made in 1997, defending Moore for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom as a northeast Alabama circuit judge.

He pointed out that Pryor has been nominated to a seat on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Should he have been removed? Or suspended? Is this an appropriate punishment or is it going to far?
post #2 of 3
IMO, the ethics panel did exactly the right thing. As a judge himself, Moore absolutely should have obeyed an order directed by another judge. Anyone else who ignored a judge's ruling would be disciplined.

He chose to disobey the ruling, knowing full well the potential outcome, so I would assume he was ready for this. By making a stand the way he did, he may very well have generated enough publicity for supporters to try to address this with legislation, which would be the appropriate thing to do. If he can get the legislation changed, then he would no longer be breaking any laws. But as the laws are now written and interpreted, he broke them and directly disobeyed a judge.

Personally, I agree that the monument should have been removed. But it's pretty hard to say we have a definite separation between church and state when the federal currency reads 'In God we Trust.'
post #3 of 3
I think that the ethics panel acted accordingly. Roy Moore being a Chief Justice should know that the monument being placed in the state Supreme Court building would imply that Church and State are in collusion. A very dangerous thing especially with what it can lead to in society.

The act was also inflammatory given the fact that Muslims living in the USA feel that they have been victimised and harrassed since 9/11. It smacks against assurances that all religions are equal in a multicultural society. And with the First Amendment argument that Moore used, I would like to point out that his act was in violation as the monument diminishes all other religions and in effect silences them within that Supreme Court.

Perhaps instead of judging issues on individual Amendments of the Constitution, it would be better to judge issues on the whole of the Constitution. That would save a lot of time and energy of which could be used to better a nation.

Just my two cents.
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