Monday, November 17, 2003

A coalition of conservative groups, angered by last week’s ouster of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, vowed yesterday to mobilize “millions” of Americans to pressure Congress to pass laws restricting federal courts’ powers.

Mr. Moore, who was evicted from office on Thursday for not obeying the order of a federal judge to remove a 5,280-pound monument that he had installed two years ago in the rotunda of the state courthouse, is expected to announce his next move today.

“The pseudo-legal gang rape of Justice Roy Moore is an example of creeping Liebermanism,” said Rabbi Yehuda Levin of the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Jews for Morality.

He is one of 24 original signers of a “Save the Ten Commandments” petition, which backers aim to present on the steps of the Capitol next September after a “Ten Commandments March” on Washington.

“Just as Senator Joe Lieberman speaks of his religious values while supporting the homosexual agenda and partial-birth abortion,” he said, “so, too, the judicial dictatorship talks about the Constitution and people’s rights while it turns two centuries of America’s history and tradition on its head.”

The petition, which asks Congress to protect the estimated 4,000 replicas of the Ten Commandments posted in city halls and courthouses across the country, is decorated with a cross and a Star of David. The effort is being coordinated by the Houston-based Vision America, a lobbying group representing 3,000 pastors.

Signatories include the Rev. Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University; Concerned Women for America President Sandy Rios; the Rev. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life; former presidential candidate Gary Bauer of American Values; Bishop Philip Porter of Promise Keepers; Rabbi Daniel Lapin of Toward Tradition; Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson; James Dobson of Focus on the Family; Donna Rice Hughes of Enough is Enough; and Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum.

“The Ten Commandments provide basic principles for a basic civil society,” said Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America. “They describe how people ought to interact with each other with honor and integrity, and they state our relationship with God.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council called the federal courts a “jackhammer” that is “chipping away with each and every decision at our religious foundations in this nation.”

“We must demand that Congress … limit the federal judiciary’s authority on such issues as the national motto ‘In God We Trust,’ the Pledge of Allegiance, marriage and, yes, the Ten Commandments.”

He and other speakers said decisions on these issues should be made by state courts, whose officials, like Chief Justice Moore, are elected, not appointed.

Alan Keyes, a candidate for the 1996 and 2000 Republican presidential nomination, said the issue is a “dictatorship of the judiciary.”

He said, “If federal judges can issue orders that ignore the clear message of the Constitution and substitute for it a claim of their own power … then we don’t have a Constitution. That issue has not been placed before our [elected] representatives. In the course of the next year, it will be.”

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