Fellow Weevilites Kris Vilamaa (also here) and Mac Thomason offer their thoughts on Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s open defiance of an 11th Circuit order to remove a monument to the 10 Commandments which he snuck into the Alabama Supreme Court building one night.

As I note in their comments section, though, I think Moore will get away with this. The Federal Courts lack a police force. So, to enforce their decision requires either voluntary cooperation or the intervention of the US Justice Dept. I don’t see President Bush or John Ashcroft going in to enforce this, do you? There will be no federalizing of the Alabama National Guard or the FBI marching Moore off in handcuffs.

And Moore is certainly the most popular political figure in Alabama at the moment, so he’s not going to be thrown out by the people. Indeed, his idiocy on this very issue is what catipulted him to chief justice in the first place. (Judges in Alabama, as in many states, are elected.)

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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. Whatever says:

    > There will be no federalizing of the Alabama
    > National Guard or the FBI marching Moore off in
    > handcuffs.

    Well, let’s see. The government exercised it’s obligation by saying it has to go – it isn’t establishing a religion per the first ammendment. Moore ignores the order. Court has done its job, executive branch has other things to worry about. Life goes on.

    Who is getting hurt here? You worried about some one getting offended? Coverting to Judiasm perhaps? The government is in the clear, Moore gets press, no on in Alabama is particularly worried, but people who live FAR away want the police called in and Moore handcuffed.

    Don’t you have other things to worry about?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Gee, Whatever, didn’t you read the post?

    Moore is violating a court order, which usually is cause for getting hauled off to jail. But this is purely a political fight and, no, I can’t imagine the administration pushing it that hard.

    And, while I now live in Virginia (which isn’t that far away), my parents still live in Alabama, I graduated high school there, got three degrees there, and have lots of friends there.

  3. Tirebiter says:

    I’m no expert but when I was a jurist on a federal case, Federal Marshalls were thick. I’m pretty sure they were working for or in cahoots with the court itself. They were really cool, by the way and superbly professional.

  4. Mac Thomason says:

    I live in Alabama, and I care. My father and sister are attorneys who also live in the state, and they care. Is that enough?

    And Moore is now the most popular politician in the state and likely to be the next governor if the GOP doesn’t split (which is a possibility). I definitely care about that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If everyone ignored it, it would it go away, but you bone-heads keep feeding it, giving it more publicity, giving him more spotlight, etc.

    I’ll bet there are more 10 Commandments posted in public schools and courthouses accross this nation than not (anyone want to check the courhouse in Baird, Texas, out in the middle of no where?) Everyone ignores them and perhaps a quiet word in the right place gets it removed – a better solution than making a circus out of it.

  6. Sarah Stoltzfus says:

    It is said that, “if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.”

    Judge Moore has stood up for the greatest cause on earth. Since when has the Ten Commandments threatend the constitution? It is a guidline to morality, and morality is an essential element for freedom.

  7. James Joyner says:


    Most of the 10 Commandments is superstitious nonsense.

      -You shall have no other gods before Me.

      -You shall not make idols or bow down to them, nor serve them.

      -You shall not use the name of the Lord your God disrespectfully.

      -Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

      -You shall not lust for your neighbor’s house, or his wife, or any thing that is your neighbor’s.

    Useful, but circumstantial:

      -Honor your father and your mother.

      -You shall not lie about your neighbor.

    Useful, but obvious:

      -You shall not murder.

      -You shall not commit adultery.

      -You shall not steal.