1. Travel

Judge Roy Moore & the Ten Commandments


Because Moore always used an opening prayer before court, a legal practice that was being unofficially dropped by many judges, he was always under the watchful eye of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

In 1994 the circuit court position he held was up for re-election. He ran for the opening and won. Now that he was an "elected" official, the ACLU wanted to make an example of him. In April of 1995 they filed a complaint at the federal level. Local politicians, both Democrat and Republican, supported him and helped raise funding for his defense. The case came before the federal judge but was later dismissed.

The ACLU does not give up easily. This case was now drawing national attention in the news. The trial began in November of 1996. It was ruled The Ten Commandments could stay as "part of a historical display", but the opening prayer was unconstitutional and "every effort must be made to stop such prayer in all Alabama courts."

In March of 1997 Moore had a victory. The US House of Representatives approved a resolution to support the display of The Ten Commandments. Encouraged by his recent victories, The Christian Family Association circulates a petition seeking Moore's candidacy for the position of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Despite running against three very strong candidates, he won a clean victory with 56% of the vote.

As Chief Justice he also was "the lessee of the Alabama Judicial Building" - having full charge of office design, parking and decorating. He placed his original Ten Commandments plaque outside the door to his chambers. He ordered a granite monument of the Ten Commandments and had it installed July 31, 2001.

He angered several special-interest groups in the first year and a half on the job. Some people complained about his references to the Bible and felt it represented improper mixing of religion and government. Within a week of installation of the monument, the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) threatened a lawsuit and on October 30, 2001, the ACLU and other organizations filed a suit to have the monument removed.

On Nov 18, 2002 a federal judge found the monument unconstitutional. It had to be removed in 30 days. If not, the court would enter an injunction requiring Moore to remove it in 15 days. With all the publicity, Moore felt the main issue was being completely missed. It was not about displaying the Ten Commandments, rather "the acknowledgement of God." He considered the order unlawful and could not obey it.

Beginning August 16 over 2,000 people flocked to the judicial building to see the monument. Busloads of people arrived from all over the country. The date for removal passed. Moore was informed a curtain had been placed around the monument and the building was closed to the public.

The Judicial Inquiry Commission filed a complaint, not just to remove the monument, but also Judge Roy Moore from office. The crowds continued to come; the event was in the spotlight of national television coverage. On August 27 the monument was moved to a storage area out of public view.

On November 12, 2003, at the Court of the Judiciary, Roy Moore was asked by Alabama Attorney General, Bill Pryor, if he continues to serve as Chief Justice will he continue to acknowledge God? Moore replies "Absolutely". As a result of this trial Moore is removed from office.

On November 4, 2004 Moore's final appeal to the US Supreme Court is rejected. The Court instead chooses to hear two other less controversial Ten Commandment cases.

As the dust settles in Alabama, a group of American Veterans is taking the monument on a tour across the country. In the meantime, Judge Roy Moore is traveling the country speaking and promoting his book and considering his future endeavors. The country, and Alabama, probably haven't heard the last of Roy Moore.

More Huntsville Articles
Free Huntsville Newsletter
Huntsville Events Calendar

  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. Huntsville, AL
  4. Huntsville Life
  5. People
  6. Famous Alabamians
  7. Judge Roy Moore & the Ten Commandments

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.