November 2002 Court Ruling

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has 30 days to remove the controversial Ten Commandments Monument from the state Judicial Building. A federal judge ruled Monday the monument violates the constitution's ban on government promotion of religion and must be removed.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson gave Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore until December 18th to remove the 53-hundred-pound granite monument. Thompson said in a 96-page opinion that he does not believe all Ten Commandment displays in government buildings are illegal, but that the monument in the judicial building crosses the line "between the permissible and the impermissible." (Click the link to the left to read the full opinion .)

Morris Dees, lead counsel and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, urged Moore to remove the monument immediately. But a spokesman for Moore says the chief justice will ask a federal appeals court to overturn the ruling. More's attorney, Stephen Melchior, also says Moore also will ask the court to issue a stay against the judge's requirement that the monument be removed within 30 days.

One of Moore's supporters, Alabama Christian Coalition President John Giles, says he is shocked that Thompson would order the monument removed. He says he believes there may be a backlash against the ruling in Alabama, a Bible Belt state in which Moore won easily two years ago.

Another Moore supporter, Dean Young, executive director of the Gadsden-based Christian Family Association, called the ruling a case of "a liberal federal judge standing up and saying we can't acknowledge God in our courtrooms."