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Ala. Judge Loses Ten Commandments Appeal
Washington Post ^ | July 1, 2003 | Associated Press

Posted on 07/01/2003 2:47:12 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian

ATLANTA - A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a Ten Commandments monument the size of a washing machine must be removed from the Alabama Supreme Court building.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed a ruling by a federal judge who said that the 2 1/2-ton granite monument, placed there by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

[snip]

Moore put the monument in the rotunda of the courthouse in the middle of the night two summers ago. The monument features tablets bearing the Ten Commandments and historical quotations about the place of God in law.

[click link to read remainder of article]

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Breaking News; Constitution/Conservatism; Front Page News; US: Alabama
KEYWORDS: churchandstate; roymoore; tencommandments
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To: rwfromkansas
law enforcement authorities

The U.S. Marshals are the judiciary cops.

101 posted on 07/01/2003 4:27:02 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Shamrock-DW
Thank you for proving who is the real idiot.
102 posted on 07/01/2003 4:27:48 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: HostileTerritory
Funny enough, page 39 of the 11th Circuit's opinion addresses precisely this point.

Oh, riiight. I see now. It's so the hoards of illiterate Georgians who come to the Supreme Court can recognize the central hallway as a place of law.

103 posted on 07/01/2003 4:33:14 PM PDT by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: Kevin Curry
I cannot believe the depth and breadth of stupidity and ignorance on the history of this particular issue. It is absolutely mind-boggling.

James Madison, principal drafter of the First Amendment, thought that it prohibited Congress from hiring chaplains, and the President from proclaiming Thanksgiving Day. His thoughts on the subject are here.

104 posted on 07/01/2003 4:33:19 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: FreedomCalls
Granted that's probably not exactly what the Supreme Court has in mind, but the basic point is that context is what matters and the Supreme Court manages to put the Ten Commandments in a judicial context in a way Judge Moore doesn't--and won't--do. The use of Roman numerals in place of words is a significant detail in that distinction.
105 posted on 07/01/2003 4:36:06 PM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: All
I am fed up with this BS that this violates the establishment clause.

First, let's take a look at what Jefferson says to do in interpreting the Constitution. Jefferson expresses a strict constructionist attitude in this June 12, 1823 letter to Supreme Court Justice William Johnson:

"On every question of interpretation, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

In other words, do not do like these judges do and ignore the history of the Constitution and amendments. Instead, examine the history and the feelings at the time of their adoption.

That is what this post is going to do.

An obvious requirement for determining original intent is a study of the original debates on the Bill of Rights. During the debates on the Constitution, religion was a subject that did not come up much, except when the framers discussed Article IV, clause 3, which prohibits religious tests for public office. Religious freedom came up so little that it seems perhaps the delegates to the Constitutional Convention saw the prohibition on religious tests as an adequate restriction on the federal government in regards to religion. At the very least, this belief in the adequacy of the Constitution is the attitude expressed by the Federalist Papers. Alexander Hamilton says, “For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed” (Federalist 84)? Edmund Randolph had this to say: “No part of the Constitution, even if strictly construed, will justify a conclusion that the general government can take away or impair the freedom of religion" (qtd. in Stokes & Pfeffer 151). This Federalist attitude was one that was pretty common. In fact, James Madison, father of the Bill of Rights, did not consider any amendments necessary, but proposed them to secure votes from anti-Federalists for the Constitution. Anti-Federalists were concerned about the rights of states under a Constitution; they feared their rights would be hurt by a strong national government. Therefore, the states ended up leading the charge for the Bill of Rights. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia all submitted suggested amendments securing personal liberties and the only state that did not address religion was Massachusetts. In any event, eventually, James Madison proposed his Bill of Rights to pacify the Anti-Federalists (Davis 441).

The history of the First Amendment’s adoption provides important insight into its intent. James Madison introduced the First Amendment in the House of Representatives June 8, 1789, with the original text reading: “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed” (Annals of Congress). By August 15, it read: “No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.” Importantly, in the debate that day, Roger Sherman is recorded in the Annals as thinking, since Congress had no power to establish religious establishments, an amendment to forbid it was unnecessary. Such was the belief of both Madison and Jefferson. In a significant announcement, Madison explained the intent of his amendment recorded in the Annals for August 15, as it is recorded that “He apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience.” Nothing in this explanation supports a contention that the federal government could not ever pass an act supporting religion in general, even perhaps generally the Christian religion. Madison (who in some cases seems to broadly interpret “establish”) very narrowly construes the meaning of establish in the amendment.

Of course, this amendment went through further changes. An example is the final draft of the House version in the Annals for August 20, 1789: "Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; nor shall the rights of conscience be infringed." A person attempted to alter the amendment in the Senate to stop any “state” from doing such, not just Congress. However, the motion failed. The final version in the Senate (from the Annals of Congress for September 9) read as follows: "Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.” It should be noted that the Senate beat back attempts to alter the language to prohibit the establishment of a particular “denomination” (Annals, September 3). One major First Amendment authority believes that rejecting the wording of "denomination" shows that the narrow constructionist view of the establishment clause was rejected (Stokes & Pfeffer 98). However, in the very final Senate version quoted above, the legislators did narrowly construct the amendment contrary to Stokes' claim. Congress is only forbidden from establishing articles of faith and manner of worship, not a broad restriction in any sense of the word. Furthermore, a consistent wording in changes to the First Amendment as offered initially is the banning of acts “establishing” a religion (an example is the House version), putting in doubt the statement of one author that any law even touching upon something of a religious nature is unconstitutional (Lowell 8).

Annals of Congress. Library of Congress. 28 Feb. 2003. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwac.html

Davis, Derek. Original Intent: Chief Justice Rehnquist and the Course of American Church-State Relations. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1991.

Hamilton, Alexander, et al. The Federalist Papers. Ed. Clinton Rossiter. New York: New American Library, 1999. 481-482.

Lowell, C. Stanley. The Great Church-State Fraud. Washington: Robert B. Luce, 1973. (pro-separationist, btw)

Stokes, Anson, and Leo Pfeffer. Church and State in the United States. New York: Harper and Row, 1950. (pro-separationist)

106 posted on 07/01/2003 4:36:38 PM PDT by rwfromkansas ("There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write 'damnation' with your fingers." C.H. Spurgeon)
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To: Kevin Curry
bttt...
107 posted on 07/01/2003 4:38:16 PM PDT by sit-rep
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To: dogbyte12
The best test for any of these laws are the opposite foot. If the judge was a scientologist, a mormon, a Hindu, a jehovah's witness... would you feel comfortable with them giving a tacit approval of their faith, broadcasting it to potential jurors, while they are judging you?

The court building also contains plaques with quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. So what does that bode for defendants who are on record as opposed to the fact that that Communist gets his own federal holiday?

108 posted on 07/01/2003 4:39:30 PM PDT by inquest
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To: BritExPatInFla
The lower court is not doing so.
109 posted on 07/01/2003 4:39:42 PM PDT by rwfromkansas ("There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write 'damnation' with your fingers." C.H. Spurgeon)
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To: FreeTheHostages
Judges of all stripes can be ignorant dupes.
110 posted on 07/01/2003 4:41:56 PM PDT by rwfromkansas ("There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write 'damnation' with your fingers." C.H. Spurgeon)
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To: Kevin Curry
Now to replace it with a statue of two men engaged in anal sodomy.

Good idea. Mine is to put a bust of each of the 11 Circuit Judges that voted for this and their full names and then something really, really insulting. Wouldn't that be covered by the 1st Amendment. Maybe the ACLU would defend that one for us.
111 posted on 07/01/2003 4:42:21 PM PDT by microgood (They will all die......most of them.)
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To: Lurking Libertarian
"James Madison, principal drafter of the First Amendment, thought that it prohibited Congress from hiring chaplains"
Yet he did vote for hiring chaplains. Later he changed his mind and thought it wasn't a good idea.

He has a good point, but he never claims that he is the authority on the Constitution but that it was the product of many and that the final authority lies in it's ratifiers- which many (most?) of those in the congress that voted for the chaplains were.

112 posted on 07/01/2003 4:49:06 PM PDT by mrsmith
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Comment #113 Removed by Moderator

To: Lurking Libertarian
James Madison, principal drafter of the First Amendment, thought that it prohibited Congress from hiring chaplains, and the President from proclaiming Thanksgiving Day.

There may have been sound reasons for saying that that still don't apply to the current case. Madison defined religion (correctly) as "the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it" - that is, the prayers, the rituals, the hymns, etc. Certainly chaplains and thanksgiving are part of that definition. But merely making a statement regarding the source of moral law is not, in itself, religion. It's simply a view of the way the world works, without which no human institution can properly function.

114 posted on 07/01/2003 4:54:01 PM PDT by inquest
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To: Lurking Libertarian
The decision was correct. Not only is it based on decades of Supreme Court decisions, but the decision was based on impartiality toward the establishment of religion by governmental authorities.

Anybody who has not bothered to read the actual court decision linked in this article is making a decision to deliberately remain ignorant. That is their perogative, of course, but it doesn't really contribute to informed discussions.

I can envision the year 2400 when Islam or Gaia or some other religion has gained predominance in America. This ruling would protect me and uphold the Constitution.

115 posted on 07/01/2003 4:58:09 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
You make a great point. People in the majority now, don't want constitutional protections for religious minorities, because it doesn't affect them, right now, since their ox isn't being gored.

This country is becoming vastly latino, and catholic while baptists aren't noticing. They are having struggles in Poland right now regarding the rights of those who are non catholic christians because of the super majority catholic faith of people over there.

I wish people would take the long sided view. Demographics should teach people that what exists now, won't necessarily exist later. California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and New Mexico for example will soon be overwhelmingly Catholic, not protestant. Alot of evangelicals would not want to go to court where a statue of the pope is required to be passed before they enter.

116 posted on 07/01/2003 5:05:13 PM PDT by dogbyte12
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Comment #117 Removed by Moderator

To: dogbyte12
since their ox isn't being gored.

What are you even talking about? Whose ox is being gored right now? Whose rights are being violated?

118 posted on 07/01/2003 5:07:39 PM PDT by inquest
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Comment #119 Removed by Moderator

To: dogbyte12
It's really rather simple. Judge Moore can buy an acre of land and put up a 10,000 foot monument of the Ten Commandments if he wants. Well, unless it's adjacent to an airport, I guess.

But there's no need for him to erect it in a government building, and a reasonable reading of the Constitution precludes it.

If Judge Moore can do this, then Judge I.M. Antichrist can put up whatever he wants in the rotunda of his Supreme Court Building.

Nobody wants to look at the flip side.

120 posted on 07/01/2003 5:13:57 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
If Judge Moore can do this, then Judge I.M. Antichrist can put up whatever he wants in the rotunda of his Supreme Court Building.

Constitutionally, he can. Realistically, it's unlikely that Mr. Antichrist will be confirmed as Chief Justice in the first place.

121 posted on 07/01/2003 5:16:35 PM PDT by inquest
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To: inquest
Constitutionally, he can't. That's the point.
122 posted on 07/01/2003 5:18:24 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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Comment #124 Removed by Moderator

To: Dog Gone
You're jumping from your argument in support of your conclusion to the conclusion itself. Why bother stating the argument if you're just going to say "That's the way it is and that's that."?
125 posted on 07/01/2003 5:24:43 PM PDT by inquest
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To: Dog Gone
There was a fellow once who banned all religious symbols from the public square. Do you think that was a good idea?
126 posted on 07/01/2003 5:26:45 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: inquest
Well, I thought I had made it earlier in the thread, so I guess I was trying to avoid repeating myself.

Have you read the actual opinion?

127 posted on 07/01/2003 5:27:41 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: SkooldBiDaStayt
Of course you're right, but that doesn't change my point that things are likely to get ugly. Judge Moore isn't going to back down on this. It is his 10 Commandments schtick that got him elected Chief Justice to begin with. Believe it or not, that was the biggest plank in his platform when he ran for the office (welcome to Alabama). You ask me, he's going to ride it all the way to the governor's chair, and the feds are only helping him to get there by making an issue out of it.
128 posted on 07/01/2003 5:30:58 PM PDT by squidly
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To: jwalsh07
There was a fellow once who banned all religious symbols from the public square. Do you think that was a good idea?

Tell me the full facts. While law, even constitutional law, is about principles, facts play a very important role.

Read the opinion here, and you'll see what role they played.

But, as a very preliminary response to your question, I don't think the Constitution requires that.

129 posted on 07/01/2003 5:32:00 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
Tell me the full facts. While law, even constitutional law, is about principles, facts play a very important role.

I'm not sure what facts you need, the question is a simple one.

Is it your understanding that the first amendment prohibits religious displays on public property?

130 posted on 07/01/2003 5:35:00 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: Lurking Libertarian
>>...That discussion is accompanied by citations to the court decisions from 1962 and 1963 which forced Governors Wallace and Barnett to obey school desegregation orders...<<

Court decisions didn't force them to obey, the National Guard did, as I recall.

Question is, would George W. Bush call out the National Guard to force a conservative judge to remove the 10 Commandments??

And how would that look during a re-election bid??

131 posted on 07/01/2003 5:37:31 PM PDT by FReepaholic (Freepers, a fierce warlike tribe from FreeRepublic.com)
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To: oldironsides
As a born and raised Chadds Fordian (now in NYC), I'm glad to know that.
132 posted on 07/01/2003 5:40:14 PM PDT by speedy
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Comment #133 Removed by Moderator

To: Lurking Libertarian
>>...violates the constitutional separation of church and state. ...<<

Somebody show me where this is in the Constitution.

Where does it apply to a soveriegn State??

The First Amendment applies to Congress.

134 posted on 07/01/2003 5:41:57 PM PDT by FReepaholic (Freepers, a fierce warlike tribe from FreeRepublic.com)
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To: jwalsh07
I'm not sure what facts you need, the question is a simple one.

You're the one who mentioned a fellow, so you introduced a fact situation. I'm not sure why you're refusing to expound.

And I did give you an answer. Please read my response again.

135 posted on 07/01/2003 5:46:55 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: inquest
No...mr. Antichrist will assume the mantles of chief justic, congress, senate, and president all at once!
136 posted on 07/01/2003 5:50:06 PM PDT by mdmathis6
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Comment #137 Removed by Moderator

To: TheCrusader
Vote for me! Whoo hoo! :p
138 posted on 07/01/2003 5:54:16 PM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: Dog Gone
Yes, I've read it. The court's lame attempt to distinguish this from the "In God We Trust" on our money is utterly unconvincing. They basically were trying to say that we really don't mean what we say on the money - it's just window dressing. Sounds like an atheist in denial to me.

There is no substantive difference between what appears on our coins and the Decalogue in that rotunda. They both express the exact same worldview.

139 posted on 07/01/2003 5:56:13 PM PDT by inquest
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To: SunStar
Maybe you're just wrong.
140 posted on 07/01/2003 5:57:53 PM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace ((the original))
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To: inquest
I disagree, but if you're right then the motto will be the next to fall.
141 posted on 07/01/2003 6:02:29 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Catspaw
Think US Marshals. A whole bunch of them. With trucks and forklifts and whatever else they need.

Think Alabama State Guard and National Guard ... with tanks and attack helicopters and other assorted instruments of mayhem. This Judge is not going to take this laying down.

Think Citizen's militia called out. The Feds had best tread lightly on this. This is the stuff of Lexington and Concord.

142 posted on 07/01/2003 6:04:28 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (We are crushing our enemies, seeing him driven before us and hearing the lamentations of the liberal)
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Comment #143 Removed by Moderator

To: Catspaw
Think hundreds of armed civilians.

It's time to get bloody and defend our rights.
144 posted on 07/01/2003 6:15:36 PM PDT by Stopislamnow (Rope, ammo, guns, and a new affirmation of the Constitution are the only ways to take America back.)
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To: freedomsnotfree
A repeat of Lexington and Concord?

It was a minister who, on the eve that battle, told the militia they had a duty to God to fight. Another minister, Muhlenberg, at the end of a sermon, tore off his clerical garb to reveal the uniform of an Officer in the Virginia Militia (his brother, also a minster, was the first Speaker of the House of Representatives).

145 posted on 07/01/2003 6:27:20 PM PDT by DPB101
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To: auboy
Oh no, I don't despise it. You typically assume what you don't know. I grew up in Alabama. My family still lives there. If you knew anything about it, you would know that the state is in the midst of a fiscal free-fall. The economy will not be assisted by the election of a governor who (a) knows nothing of government except for the imposition of his own views and (b) will drive away the investment that is critical for the survival of the state's economy.

Go ahead. With your vast knowledge of the state and of Roy Moore's governmental acumen, tell us all how his election would be good for the state.

146 posted on 07/01/2003 6:32:53 PM PDT by lugsoul
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To: tscislaw
Question is, would George W. Bush call out the National Guard to force a conservative judge to remove the 10 Commandments??

If a governor ordered the National Guard to come obstruct US marshals on behalf of a freak like Roy Moore? You betcha. Several things would start happening then that would play very well in the rest of the country - and very badly for the religious right.

147 posted on 07/01/2003 6:33:00 PM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: Centurion2000
***guffaw***
148 posted on 07/01/2003 6:34:14 PM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: Spiff
That would be the 1st Amendment, incorporated against the states by way of the 14th. Next, I suppose you'll be telling us that the state can decree singing of hymns in the courtroom.

Go back to school.

149 posted on 07/01/2003 6:35:11 PM PDT by lugsoul
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To: Stopislamnow
Advocating violence, are you?

Trash. Pathetic, camo clad, militia trash.

150 posted on 07/01/2003 6:35:19 PM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine
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