PRYOR VS. MOORE II

Interesting: Earlier today, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore announced his intentions to ignore the 11th Circuit while he appeals to the Supreme Court.

“I have no intention of removing the monument,” he said. “This I cannot and will not do.”

Moore’s decision came six days before the Aug. 20 deadline for the 5,300-pound monument to be removed from the judicial building rotunda, where it is in clear sight of visitors coming in the main entrance.

Visitors to the building and some court employees, gathered in the rotunda, burst into applause and cheers when Moore made his announcement, standing just a few feet from the monument. Attorneys who sued to remove the monument later Thursday filed a judicial ethics complaint against Moore for disobeying a court order.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson of Montgomery, who ruled the monument violates the constitution’s ban on government promotion of religion, had said fines of about $5,000 a day could be imposed imposed against the state if the monument were not removed.

Moore accused Thompson of a “callous disregard for the people of Alabama” and their tax dollars.

Attorney General Bill Pryor, a nominee to the same 11th Circuit, has issued the following announcement:

Although I believe the Ten Commandments are the cornerstone of our legal heritage and that they can be displayed constitutionally as they are in the U. S. Supreme Court building, I will not violate nor assist any person in the violation of this injunction. As Attorney General, I have a duty to obey all orders of courts even when I disagree with those orders. In this controversy, I will strive to uphold the rule of law. We have a government of laws, not of men. I will exercise any authority provided to me, under Alabama law, to bring the State into compliance with the injunction of the federal court, unless and until the Supreme Court of the United States rules in favor of Chief Justice Moore.”

The “any authority provided to me” may be a weasel clause, but this is an interesting position for him to take. We shall see what transpires.

(Hat tip: feddie at Southern Appeal)

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. LittleA says:

    I have never understood why it is legal to display the 10 commandments in the US Supreme Court building but not in a state court building.

    It seems to me if the SCOTUS has no problem seeing them in their building, it should pretty much be a no brainer downstream.

    Maybe if they splattered some elephant dung on the monument they could keep it as a piece of art?

  2. James Joyner says:

    The Court has played the odd “St. Nick, Too” game. The 10 Commandments by themselves = bad, but if you also throw up the Code of Hammurabi and a couple of other historical docs, then it’s an acceptable historical display.