- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2004

ANNAPOLIS — With partisanship becoming more commonplace in Annapolis, even religion can be a contentious topic in the state legislature.

Some Republican lawmakers are asking the General Assembly to pass a resolution supporting Roy Moore,who was ousted as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

Two of Mr. Moore’s supporters — Sen. Alex X. Mooney of Frederick County and Delegate Don Dwyer of Anne Arundel County — invited Mr. Moore to Annapolis to speak to lawmakers today and address a public rally outside the State House.

“This is to show our support” for Mr. Moore, Mr. Dwyer said. The appearance by the former judge also is intended to build support for the resolution, he said.

Sen. Paula Hollinger, Baltimore County Democrat, said the invitation to Mr. Moore was “an in-your-face” move by “this right-wing Republican cabal” in the legislature.

“I think it’s enough, already. I think they ought to sit back and learn to respect all religions and religious freedom,” Miss Hollinger said.

Mr. Moore attracted national attention by installing a 5,300-pound Ten Commandments monument in the Rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. He was removed from office after he defied a federal court order to remove the monument, which was put in storage by an order of the other eight justices on the state Supreme Court.

In an appeal asking to be reinstated, Mr. Moore said the ruling required judges to deny their oath of office and religious faith.

“I applaud the other justices in Alabama for removing him from the bench,” Miss Hollinger said. She said it sets “a terrible example for our children” to support a judge who defied a court order.

But Mr. Dwyer, like Mr. Moore, argues that the order was illegal. Mr. Moore was invited to Annapolis to give him a chance to explain his belief that the federal court did not have the power to order him to remove the monument, Mr. Dwyer said.

Mr. Mooney said he asked permission for Mr. Moore to deliver the opening prayer in the Senate, but the request was denied.

“The reason I was given was that they want a clergy member or a senator to give the prayer,” he said. “But it seems to me they could have made an allowance for the esteemed chief justice.”

Mr. Mooney said the resolution he will sponsor along with Mr. Dwyer asks Congress to pass a law that protects display of the Ten Commandments.

“To me it sounds like an easy vote, but you never know in the Maryland General Assembly,” he said.

Mr. Moore was scheduled to be introduced to the House and the Senate this morning before speaking to lawmakers who wanted to hear his side of the Ten Commandments dispute at a meeting after the House and Senate adjourns for the day.

Mr. Dwyer and Mr. Mooney then planned to appear with Mr. Moore at a rally outside the State House.

They promoted the rally with paid radio advertising in hopes of attracting a large crowd of Marylanders to show their support for Mr. Moore.

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