Action Alert!

Judge Moore's legal standing

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | 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 CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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