Nov 03, 2003

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to revive Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's legal effort to display the Ten Commandments in the state Judicial Building in Montgomery.

The high court's refusal to hear the Moore v. Glassroth case means that the legal controversy is over and that Moore has lost his final appeal. The two-and-a-half-ton religious monument will not be returned to public display at the state courthouse.

"This is the end of the legal line for Roy Moore," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "The outcome does not surprise me. The Supreme Court was never likely to give its blessing to Moore's misguided crusade."

Continued Lynn, "It is time for Moore to face facts: he's on the wrong side of the Constitution. Religious symbols belong in our homes and houses of worship, not our courthouses."

Acting on behalf of local residents, Americans United, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama and the Southern Poverty Law Center brought a legal challenge against Moore after the Alabama jurist arranged to display a Protestant version of the Ten Commandments in the Judicial Building in July of 2001.

A U.S. district court ruled against Moore, and on appeal he also lost before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Moore then defied the federal courts and announced he would not remove the monument. He was suspended from his position, and other Alabama officials had the monument removed from public display.

"The Supreme Court's decision today brings an end to Moore's grandstanding," Lynn remarked. "He has exploited the Ten Commandments for personal political gain long enough."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.