Former Alabama state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore is bringing back his Ten Commandments monument as he runs for U.S. Senate.
The statue, a carved, 2.5 ton lump of marble, will be displayed beginning Tuesday in Montgomery at the Foundation for Moral Law, a conservative nonprofit Mr. Moore started with his wife, Kayla, in 2003.
The stone features quotations carved into the sides and, on top, the two open tablets containing the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament.
“This wasn’t done for political reasons, but it’s very necessary,” Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Moore was elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2000, and six months after taking office had the Ten Commandments monument installed in the court’s lobby without informing his colleagues.
A court battle followed, and in November 2002 a federal judge ordered it removed. But Mr. Moore declined to comply with the court order, and he was forced out as chief justice in November 2003, not long after the monument had been taken away.
Mr. Moore predicted the monument would draw crowds. The Foundation for Moral Law is housed in Montgomery, and the building was once a bank that financed the Confederacy as well as having a tunnel underneath used by escaping slaves, he said.
The Ten Commandments’ return was announced on Facebook at the Stand with Roy Moore page, and came with a warning from Mr. Moore.
“One of the most important issues affecting our country is a lack of morality,” the Facebook post reads. “The Ten Commandments represent the ‘Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,’ upon which our Nation began in 1776. Today more than ever, we need to return to those laws and moral standards upon which our Country was founded.”
While the move garnered Mr. Moore’s languishing campaign some publicity, it was not clear if it would do much to boost him beyond his 10% poll numbers.
Mr. Moore ran for the Alabama Senate seat in a 2017 special election to replace Jeff Sessions, who vacated the seat to become President Trump’s first attorney general.
But Mr. Moore’s campaign unraveled after allegations that he sexually assaulted and behaved inappropriately with minor girls decades ago when he was beginning his legal career. Mr. Moore denounced the accusations as baseless, but they were widely publicized and, facing a candidate who outspent him by more than $5 to $1, Mr. Moore narrowly lost.
The victor, Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, is now seeking election to the full term and is being challenged not only by Mr. Moore but also by Mr. Sessions, who is trying to recapture his former seat.
Mr. Sessions appears to be leading among Republican candidates, but a furious battle is unfolding for second place between Rep. Bradley Byrne and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville.
If none of the candidates tops 50 percent in the March 3 primary, the top two vote-getters would compete in a runoff March 31.
The Byrne campaign says it has been gathering steady momentum since the beginning of the year, and they laughed off Mr. Moore’s stunt while insisting they are taking every candidate seriously.
“He has been radio silent for the entire race, so trying to get some attention,” Seth Morrow, Mr. Byrne’s campaign chairman wrote in an email to The Washington Times. “He still has about 10% of the vote as a loyal following, but that is less than he normally has. He has certainly taken a hit, but still a factor in the race.”
Since the monument was removed from the state Supreme Court building, it has been housed at a church in Gadsden.