Salon reports that,

Chief Justice Roy Moore asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building Wednesday as supporters held a candlelight vigil to begin a round-the-clock protest.

I don’t think he has much of a case, given the precedents involved. But appealing is a reasonable move.

This, however, is rather baffling:

“This case is not about a monument, it’s not about politics or religion, it’s about the acknowledgment of God,” he said during an interview on CBS’ “The Early Show.”

“We must acknowledge God because our constitution says our justice system is established upon God. For (the judge) to say ‘I can’t say who God is’ is to disestablish the justice system of this state.”

Well, actually, no. While the Declaration of Independence is predicated on the natural rights endowed by a Creator, the Constitution is not. Neither the word “God” nor the word “Creator” appears anywhere in it. Indeed, the Preamble is rather explicit that the source of sovereingty, and thus law, is the people themselves.

There are some interesting, if academic, arguments to be made on the incorporation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment against the states, about the hypocrisy of the Supreme Court and Congress recognizing religion, etc. But this one is rather silly.

Update (1639): PoliBlog: The Real Fun Begins“>Steven at PoliBlog reports that the Supremes have shot ole Roy down.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Religion, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    I saw some of this on the news today. My initial reaction was that if this is a major issue in our country today, we’re in pretty good shape compared to others.

    My big question is why there isn’t an ACLU-type organization fighting this fight (against an abstract noun perhaps?) in Europe? Consider this:

    * The British government pays the salaries of the Anglican clergy.

    * The Reformed Church in Norway and Denmark are essentially bureaucratic arms of the government.

    * Germany, Belgium and a few other nations collect tithes (taxes) for various churches.

    Yeah, I know that nobody in Europe goes to church, but that is an environment you would expect people to freak out about all this state support. Maybe not.

  2. Steven says:

    Salon!? Salon still exists?

  3. James Joyner says:

    Shoot, yeah. I got my hair cut there just last week.

  4. gipper says:

    Sigh…If no gave him press, didn’t listen to him and generally ignored the whole thing, then what would happen? State sponsored churches? No, the few thousand people who go to that courthouse each year would see that thing along with a bunch of other stuff that is “legal” (maybe a statue of “Justice”, maybe some war memorial), and ignore it along with everyone else.

    Anyone see the movie “Witness”? There was a scene in Grand Central Station where the little Amish boy gazes for several minutes at the statue of an angel (in a public bulding!). He gazes at it for a few moments, perhaps thinking something of the Bible stories he has heard, while hundreds of New Yorkers stream past unaware it is even there.

    Maybe if everyone calmed down, took out their wallet and looked at their money with “In God We Trust” all over it (a much bigger endorser of religion than some courthouse that few people will ever set foot in), then we might realize that a few religious words sprinkled here and there on public property might offend some people, but it is a far cry from establishing a government church, Muslim law, or the other horrors of religion mixed with government.

  5. John Lemon says:

    I’ve always thought that all social problems could be solved by looking closely at some Harrison Ford film.

  6. John Lemon says:

    “I got my hair cut there just last week.”

    Hopefully to get rid of that pony tail. I assume you are over 30.

  7. James Joyner says:

    Heh. While I no longer sport the high and tight from my Army days, it’s still pretty danged short–maybe a 1/4″ inch at the back and tapered.

  8. Bret says:

    Tapered, huh?

    Boy, you’re such a rebel.

  9. Rick DeMent says:

    RE: The paert about the constitution says our justice system is established upon God

    Actually I think he was talking about the Alabama constitution which I believe does mention god and he swore to uphold that one as well.

  10. Steven says:

    He means all law period.

  11. James Joyner says:

    Yep. I just saw him on Hannity and Colmes. It strikes me as a rather silly basis for his argument. We’ll see how the civil obedience bit goes, I guess. Clearly, his support is growing in Alabama.

  12. SharpShooter says:

    It IS a silly basis for an argument, and it is the LESSER part of Alabama’s argument.

    The CRUX of the matter is that a Federal judge simply ORDERED Alabama to do something. (remove 10 Commandments from courhouse)

    The basis of Alabama’s argument is that America is a Federal Republic, that is: Alabama has its OWN rights, its own responsibilities, its own constitution, and is a distinct STATE within the Union.

    Judge Moore is suggesting strongly that Alabama is NOT a lickspittle for Federal government, nor is it an EXTENSION of Federal government. It is, with 49 peers, a State within the Union.

    Judge Moore is fighting an arbitrary order which, reasonable or unreasonable as that order may be, is nevertheless an arbitrary order AS IF Alabama were an extension of the Federal judiciary, NOT an independent/federated unit of the United States.


  13. Kristopher says:


    I’m sorry, I thought you were channeling Governor Wallace there for a minute. You’re either part of the United States or you’re not. At some point Alabamians are going to learn that we are not free and independent, we are part of the United States of America and choose to live under its rule of law.