Action Alert!

Judge Moore's legal standing

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Aug 29, 2003

The Alabama case has put Judge Moore at the center of a revealing constitutional conflict. The issue is not only whether the government should (or even can!) acknowledge the sovereignty of God, but also whether the federal government can dictate the policies of the individual states on such matters.

Unfortunately the case law of the past several decades all runs in the wrong direction. Federal court precedents have pretty firmly established, against all the available historical evidence, 1) that the First Amendment bars any government recognition of religious beliefs, and 2) that the Fourteenth Amendment puts state governments under the same ban.

There's a very strong case to be made that both of those propositions are wrong. And in a typically powerful argument, Alan Keyes sets forth that case.

Personally, I think Keyes is 100% right. I also think Judge Moore is right. But I still question whether it's prudent to put our energies into this battle, knowing that we will lose as long as the same people are sitting on the federal bench. Wouldn't it make more sense to wage the battle to appoint sound federal judges, so that the bad precedents can be reversed?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Sep. 01, 2003 10:21 AM ET USA

    I think on further meditation something else needs to be added, and I think I can speak for at least SOME Roman Cahtolics and protestant evangelicals. IF the Supreme Coiurt should continue to twist and defy the United States Constitution (which they already have done and continue to do) ultimately depriving us of freedom of religion and speech we will die first. Sounds like a "good" argument to you, counselor? St. Thomas Moore, pray for us!

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Aug. 30, 2003 8:51 PM ET USA

    Phil,good and evil don't run along the lines of a political democracy. Jesus took a handful of men and renewed the world. We don't seem to realise as Catholics that Justice Moore did something in the context of his fellow judges that apparently NONE of any of our Bishops (and I use the term loosely) had the integrity to do with their peers. HE REBUKED THEM. I submit he fired a shot across the bow by putting up that monument. Now this nation will have to decide!!!GOD or no GOD! A matter of time.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 30, 2003 8:04 PM ET USA

    We will only loose if we don't do something.. I think now is the time for all of us who have been sitting on our hands and complaining to rise up We have elections coming up.we have to make ourselves heard. we can do that in the voting booth.