Less of Moore

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Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's mouthbreathing crusade to use his public office to prosyletize in defiance of numerous court orders seems to be at an end: His attorneys have stipulated that he'll not interfere with efforts to move a 2.5 ton Ten Commandments monument, carved from the same granite that occupies the space between the judge's ears, from the rotunda of the state judicial building. Despite having belatedly ceased his George Wallace imitation, however, Moore has been suspended (with pay, alas) pending a disciplinary hearing by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. Should he lose his post, of course, he's set himself up rather nicely for a populist run for some other political office.

If you haven't seen it already, by the way, Scott Stantis's Friday Funnies cartoon this week takes aim at Judge Moore.

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  1. Next up: The statue of Zeus, er … excuse me, the statue of Abraham staring down at us in the humongous Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC. and probably weighing a thousand times more than that.

    Has anyone read the inscriptions etched in stone on that one?

  2. I had the same reaction as Jason – I was hoping
    we were going to get less of Michael Moore.

    Drat.

    Jeff

  3. I’m a Christian, and libertarian, and I agree that the ten commandments have no place in a courthouse. That said, I gotta tell you I’m disgusted by some of the remarks in these comments and the whole religious bigotry aspect of this thread. “Mouthbreathing,” Julian? Why? Cos he’s Christian, or cos he’s a Southern Christian? He’s a zealot, and he’s wrong, but I’ve seen no evidence that he’s stupid. “Religious vomit?” What the hell is that about? He’s not advocating the stoning of adulterers or the killing of homosexuals – he put up a monument with the ten commandments in a public courthouse and then manufactured a publicity campaign about it; there was never any doubt that the monument would be removed.

  4. “I’ve seen no evidence that he’s stupid”

    Then you can’t have been watching him speak on TV. This man is an imbecile who’s obviously unqualified to sit on the panel at American Idol, let alone a state Supreme Court, quite apart from his religion.

  5. Oh hell, you’re right – I haven’t heard him speak on TV. Every time the story comes on I switch cos I find the whole thing stupid; I’ve read his remarks in the paper, and I disagreed with them, but the written word can’t convey mouthbreathing. I still think everyone got way too worked up over this issue. A religious chauvinist wants to display the 10 commandments in a courthouse; he has now backed down. He made his point, he got all the support and condemnation and hysterical media coverage he was looking for, and he’s probably assured of winning another public office. It’s silly but it was never dangerous.

  6. >>Here’s my logic: the Ten Commandments were among man’s first attempts at a stable system of laws. Therefore, they bear great importance and relevance to a judicial body.

  7. Evan-
    That’s right, and that’s certainly harmless enough. The context is key. If they had some exhibit depicting the history of law, or something, it’s be perfectly appropriate to include the ten commandments. I halfway agree with an earlier commenter that Moore’s clear intentions are a big part of the problem: it makes all the difference in the world whether some bit of religious iconography is present for some legitimate illustrative purpose, or strictly to advance someone’s preferred religion.

  8. I have to agree with Holly…Moore’s stunt was silly, but never dangerous.

    I wish that self-proclaimed civil libertarians (I’m not referring to Julian or the rest around here BTW, but to those protesting and filing suits in AL) would get as worked up over actual threats to civil liberties as they have over this entirely symbolic one.

  9. The biggest threat to liberty here is a federal judge usurping power that is not his. All these invocations of the first amendment are bogus because it refers to FEDERAL law not STATE law. While i agree it is unlibertarian for Moore to put up this display, it is even more unlibertarian to ask the federal courts to overide a state issue.

  10. My understanding has always been that the 14th amendment says that the states have to play by the same Bill of Rights rules as Congress (with the obvious exception of the 10th amendment, since the whole point of the 10th is that all proper governmental powers not delegated to Congress are under the control of the states). If that is true, then a giant monument of the 10 Commandments (without the context of a display on the history of law or whatever) is an establishment of religion.

    Now, that interpretation of the 14th may or may not be correct, but it seems to be pretty common. Although people here might disagree over that interpretation of the 14th, I hope we all agree that states SHOULD play by the same Bill or Rights rules, even if we disagree over whether that SHOULD clause is to be enforced by the 14th (my view) or by the state constitutions (the view of some).

    Anyway, Moore is an idiot, now he’s an unemployed-with-pay martyr to boot, and in a few years he’ll probably be elected governor of Alabama, so he can go about imposing his idiotic “we don’t need no stinkin’ separation of church and state!” ideology on the executive branch instead of the judicial branch.

  11. I’m not a sympathizer with Judge Moore. But Julian Sanchez’s implication of moral equivalence between George Wallace and Judge Moore is quite unfair.

  12. Evan: I think I’ve heard The US Supreme Court has a similar sort of thing, I believe even painted on the ceiling of the court chambers. I might be mis-remembering, but I thought it even included Muhammed (of Islam fame).

    In this particular courthouse, however, I am not aware of any such displays, and am rather certain they aren’t in the same fashion, area, or display form.

    Which is precisely why one can tell he could care less about it being some sort of historical forebear to our legal system, because there are countless other things that are too, and some far more recent and obviously more influential (considering, for instance, that the first two of the Commandments are pretty much explicitly forbid by The First Amendment as valid laws, not to mention the rest of them) – but he isn’t putting up a 3000lb stone monument of The Bill of Rights or The Declaration of Independence, or even The Alabama Constitution; this further exposes his “I must recognize God” crap as just that, because both the Declaration of Independance and Alabama Constitution (as he says every time he is interviewed) makes some mention of a diety or Creator in at least one point in each.

    After all, if his reason for posting them was so much related to his “ethics” and “conscience” and “oath of office”, as supposedly supported by the Alabama constitution, then why didn’t he just have a monument of the Preamble to the Alabama Constitution put up?

    But of course, he didn’t, because that wouldn’t have caused nearly so much a fuss, and certainly wouldn’t have suddenly riled up so much grass roots support.

    Less one should forget, I do believe he’s the same judge that ahwhile back was the center of a ruckus about posting The Ten Commandments over his chair in his court room.

    With these dots layed out, one is free to connect them as one pleases.

  13. Not only is he the same judge, but the controversy over that original act of defiance is how he got to be Alabama’s chief justice in the first place– mobilizing a small but active group with promises that he’d get God back in gummint.He ran as the “ten commandments candidate.”

  14. Holly:
    i myself am a christian (or kinda at least). “religious vomit” refers not to christianity in general but the kind that roy moore practices. however i should restate that i believe that while mr moore is an annoynace it’d be a big mistake to let federal judge usurp power that should be that of state judges.

  15. Jacob: Oh. Never mind…

  16. Will any one of you intelegent people please explaine the difference between Judge Morre and Osama Bin Laden. Other than the fact that one is a Muslim and the other is a Christian, I can see no difference between these two extremist religous fanatics

  17. Osama Bin Laden has a beard, and I believe Judge Moore is clean-shaven.

    …oh, and one is a mass murderer.

  18. I don’t think the Lincoln Memorial was erected in the middle of the night by a nutty public employee.

  19. Plus the Lincoln Memorial’s purpose is clearly to celebrate a U.S. president, not solely one religion.

  20. I’ve never understood the point of suspension with pay. It seems to me that the message delivered when you give someone a paid holiday is not necessarily that they have done a bad thing.

  21. Plutarck-

    Good call!

  22. i think the reason most conservatives supported this guy (and why i supported him) was not because they want more of jesus in law (though some do) but because the implications of a federal judge ordering the chief justice of a state supreme court dealing with issues of state law is that the states are merely extravagant counties, and that federalism is no longer in existence.

    ron paul, among others, had made this point. lets not let hatred of this kind of religious vomit get the better of us when it comes to these leghal issues.

  23. I’m very disappointed. I had forgotten the judge’s name, and was all prepared for a H&R item about some reduction in Michael Moore’s work.

    Now THAT would have been worth celebrating …

  24. I would be fully in support of a monument of the Ten Commandments if Roy Moore wasn’t behind it. Here’s my logic: the Ten Commandments were among man’s first attempts at a stable system of laws. Therefore, they bear great importance and relevance to a judicial body. However, when a man like Roy Moore, a man who believes that church and state should be doing the tango together, puts up such a monument, it takes on a whole other meaning, as he is flaunting his faith as “the right one”.

  25. I agree with Justin’s comment at 10:29 am (I insert that qualifier because the last time I said “I agree with so-and-so” somebody dragged up a comment so-and-so had made much earlier and tried to hammer me with it. This place has been quite edgy lately.)

    RC Dean:

    Suspending a nut-case judge without pay is not a paid vacation for him, because it still deprives him of the thing he wants most: power.

  26. Indeed, I must have missed that part of The Bible where it declares that Thou Shalt Erect 3,000lb Stone Monuments Of These Commandments In The Rotunda Of A Courthouse…but again I must admit, it’s been ahwhile since I gave it much of a reading. Maybe I just need to read between the lines a bit more.

    Personally, if they (whomever they happens to be) can’t put together something like a somewhat comprehensive historical displays of laws, what with mentions of British Common Law and Common Law, The Roman Empire, and so on and so forth, I’d just be happy with stripping courthouses of all historical monuments entirely and sticking them in a special wing, or donating them to a museum, or whatnot.

    Reasonable and calm resolution of conflict just seems to beyond some people.

  27. “Judge Moore hasn’t flown any airplanes into buildings…”

    The point being what – that Christians are not capable of terrorist atrocities? Check your history.

  28. You know, technically speaking, Judge Moore hasn’t done anything illegal or unconstitutional. I don’t know what Mr. Sanchez is so worked up about.

  29. Who paid for the installation? I haven’t come across the answer. Was it the taxpayers?

  30. It was privately funded…go to cnn or probably almost any other newssite and do a search and you’ll find several articles that mention it.

  31. Julian Sanchez,

    You should have seen the road signs for his campaign.

  32. Jim Walsh probably also thinks that “the Jews killed Jesus” — painting an entire group with the same broad brush.

    The point being, Jim, that YOU are capable of terrorist atrocities. Everyone is capable of lots of bad stuff. (Check your history.)

    But reason demands that we put frames around our facts and not let our prejudices spill over and out of those frames.

  33. thoreau,

    The so-called “incorporation doctrine,” that the Fourteenth applies the Bill of Rights to the States, is certainly the dominant interpretation. Or rather selective incorporation, since the Court has actually identified only certain federal rights (especially those in the First, Fourth and Fifth) as essential to “ordered liberty,” and has not incorporated the whole Bill of Rights into the XIV in toto.

    I believe this doctrine relies on an ahistorical reading of its language and legislative history; but since I’ve belabored the point in some detail on other threads, I’ll give it a rest this time.

  34. “Judge Moore hasn’t flown any airplanes into buildings, for one thing.”

    Not yet at least.

  35. Look Bozos, you asked about Judge Moore, not John Calvin. If you have any serious info that Moore is going to commit terrorism, do us a favor & report to the FBI.

  36. Sorry about the Bozos, I got carried away.

  37. “Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s mouthbreathing crusade…”

    What does “mouthbreathing” mean? I can’t find it in a dictionary?

  38. Judge Moore hasn’t flown any airplanes into buildings, for one thing.

  39. This is an anarcho libertarian puzzler-to take offense or to chill out. Emmm, whats the issue? A representation(!) of a old Jewish law book…
    TAKE OFFENSE!

    Pussies.

  40. Watching some of the TV coverage of this whole thing, one network showed a courthouse in another state (PA, I think) that has the ten commandments on the wall, in some sort of embedded plaque, some kind of black metal with gold lettering… hope you get the idea. Anyway, just inches to the right of this ten commandments plaque, on the same wall in the same embedded material and lettering is a sign… No Smoking. Aha! The missing eleventh commandment!

  41. what i like about it is the prominent “of nature and nature’s god” relief on the front of it.

    it’s one of the many things about judge moore that make me deeply happy.

  42. Illiterate, (August 24, 2003 11:35 AM) — Lookie here: As you stare at this screen, reading these words, open your mouth. (Go ahead. Do it.)

    Great. Now lean forward in your chair, and breathe heavily in and out. Pretend you’re hyper-ventilating.

    OK? Is it working? Good. Now let’s do Step Two. Ready?

    Keep doing the breathing while pretending that, instead of your PC screen, you’re looking into national television cameras.

    Got it now?

    Great.

    (Oops, there’s the school bell. Gotta go. But when I’m gone, you can stop mouthbreathing anytime you wish.)

  43. I’ve been searching the web for any actual citations (“direct, verbatum quotes”) of the “other inscriptions” on Judge Moore’s Ten Commandments monument. Aside from “In God We Trust” “One nation, under God” “So help me God” and “And this be our motto, ‘In God is our trust'” (the last from the “Star Spangled Banner”) there are quotes from various American political and legal figures citing the role of God in American jurisprudence. Can anyone please tell me where I can find the actual texts of these quotes??? Thanks

  44. Roy Morre is a man to be commended. It is about time someone stands up and realized that yes, this country is all about freedom OF religion but it was totally founded on Christian principles. “Thou shalt not kill”- That’s Christian people, the Ten Commandments are the basis of our laws, that’s a fact, not an opinion!!

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