MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)–News accounts claiming that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore had the Ten Commandments monument installed in the middle of the night are misleading, a friend and supporter of Moore noted.
Moore faces an Aug. 20 deadline for having the 5,300-pound granite monument removed from the rotunda of the state judicial building — an order he has said he will not obey. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson — who issued the order — denied a stay request from Moore’s lawyers Aug. 18, saying that the opportunity to request a stay had passed. Moore’s lawyers then appealed Thompson’s denial of the stay to the 11th Circuit of Appeals in Atlanta, which has yet to make an announcement.
Moore’s lawyers also are awaiting word on an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Vision America co-chairman Rick Scarborough, who helped organize an Aug. 16 rally for Moore in Montgomery, Ala., noted in an interview that news accounts have led some people to believe that Moore is deceitful.
In recent days, as the story has gained more attention nationally, news stories repeatedly have said that Moore had the monument installed “in the middle of the night.”
While that is technically true, Scarborough said, other facts are left out.
“Because it weighed 5,300 pounds they had to wait until the courthouse was closed,” Scarborough told Baptist Press.
The movers hired to install the monument arrived after the doors closed at 6 o’clock but soon discovered they didn’t have enough men, Scarborough said, adding that it took them “hours” to get it lifted and in place.
So while the move did end in the middle of the night, it began hours before, he said.
“We need to clear that error up,” Scarborough said.
Moore, who by law is in charge of the building, also has been criticized for not alerting his fellow justices of the move. But he has said he kept them uninformed so that they would not be named as defendants in a possible lawsuit.
Voters who elected Moore knew what he stood for, Scarborough noted.
“He was elected as a Ten Commandments judge,” Scarborough said. “Everybody knew he’d post the Ten Commandments.”
In his ruling Aug. 18 denying the request for a stay, Thompson said the fact that he issued his final judgment on Aug. 5 and ordered the monument removed “is the direct, willed result of the actions of the Chief Justice himself.”
Moore lost a case before Thompson last November and before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals July 1. After he and his lawyers chose not to request a rehearing before the full 11th Circuit Court, Thompson issued his final judgment and ordered the monument removed.
“To this day, the court does not know any litigation-related reason why the Chief Justice declined to seek a stay through the orderly and established process outlined in the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure,” Thompson wrote.
Thompson speculated that Moore, “for seemingly ‘extra-judicial’ reasons known only to him, intentionally created the scenario from which he now contends … he should be extricated…. The court will not be a party to any extra-judicial machinations of the Chief Justice.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: THE WHOLE STORY and DEADLINE APPROACHING.