Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore insists that he will not remove a 2-ton monument listing the Ten Commandments from his courthouse. Two federal courts have now declared that the huge sculpture that Moore installed two years ago violates the U.S. Constitution. Moore has wedged himself between his granite rock and a hard legal place and, like the defiant Alabama Gov. George Wallace almost half a century ago, he leaves the federal court no choice but to penalize the state's taxpayers for one official's intransigence.
Last month, a federal appeals court gave Moore until Wednesday to remove the monument. A three-judge panel from this conservative-leaning court unanimously agreed that the monument promotes some religious beliefs to the exclusion of others and that its presence in the court building's rotunda unambiguously violates the Constitution's prohibition on government establishment of religion. Moore says he sees a Judeo-Christian God "as the source of law and liberty," and that's that.
The long-running carnival the chief justice has created is about to become costly for Alabama taxpayers. The federal court said it would fine the state of Alabama $5,000 each day for the first week the monument stays, and double the fine each following week. The court should also begin contempt proceedings against the judge.