Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Ten Commandments Intact After Alabama Court’s Ruling

January 30, 1998
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date
Advertisement

The Ten Commandments still stand. In the latest round of a closely watched church-state dispute, the Alabama Supreme Court has decided to allow a circuit judge to continue displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom and to conduct prayers before court.

The court rejected on technical grounds a religious-freedom lawsuit brought by Gov. Fob James and Attorney General Bill Pryor.

They were asking the court to uphold as constitutional Judge Roy Moore’s practice of displaying the Ten Commandments behind the bench and opening court with prayers.

The judge said they lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.

But by dismissing the suit, the court allowed the religious activities to continue, as the state had sought.

An earlier suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two Etowah County residents against the judge’s conduct was also thrown out on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing.

In the new ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court said it refused to “allow the judiciary of this state to become a political foil, or a sounding board for topics of contemporary interest.”

Justice Ralph Cook wrote that the purpose of the state’s lawsuit was not to challenge the judge’s practices, but to perpetuate it.

“This is not what lawsuits are about,” he said.

Recommended from JTA

Advertisement