MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The three-year legal battle over ousted Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his Ten Commandments monument ended quietly Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Moore’s final appeal.
The high court made no comment in declining Moore’s request to reverse his expulsion last year by a state judicial ethics panel for refusing a federal judge’s order to remove the 5,300-pound monument from the Alabama courthouse.
Moore said in a statement that it was hypocritical for the “liberal Supreme Court” to turn down his appeal even though the justices begin each session with the phrase, “God save the United States and this honorable court.”
“Obviously, when they open their courts this way the majority of the court doesn’t really mean it,” said Moore, whose appeal to keep the monument in the courthouse was rejected by the court last year.
Opponents of the judge and his monument cheered the decision.
“Now, no court on this planet has ruled in Moore’s favor,” said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, one of the groups that sued in 2001 to have the monument removed. “It is truly time for him to understand that he has lost.”
The dismissal closes the book on a fight that again cast a spotlight on an Alabama official defying federal orders. But unlike then-Gov. George C. Wallace ó who staged a brazen opposition to integration with his 1963 “stand in the schoolhouse door” before allowing black students to enroll at the University of Alabama ó Moore never submitted to the federal court.
His refusal to obey U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson’s order drew hundreds of supporters to Montgomery last summer and inspired similar Ten Commandments displays in other states.
But his colleagues on the Alabama Supreme Court, under threat of fines by Thompson, voted to remove the monument from the courthouse rotunda in August 2003. The state Court of the Judiciary expelled him from office three months later, saying Moore had “placed himself above the law.”
Moore’s political future remained uncertain Monday. He has said repeatedly that he would exhaust all of his appeals before deciding whether to run for office again.
Moore’s spokeswoman, Jessica Atteberry, said Monday that Moore has not decided whether to run.
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