Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The Mind of the Zealot

I haven’t written much about the (former) Judge Roy Moore situation in Alabama, but as an interesting postscript, I find this incredible. Judge Moore’s supporters are now asking President Bush to withdraw the nomination of Mark Pryor for the federal bench. Pryor is the Alabama Attorney General who enforced the federal court ruling taking Moore’s monument out of the courthouse. Now mind you, Pryor is a prominent religious right supporter and publicly favored Moore’s position – until Moore defied a binding federal court order to remove it. Then, as state attorney general, he simply had to take action. A bunch of pastors from Alabama held a rally at the Alabama state capital against Pryor’s nomination to the federal bench.

Are these people so glazed over with fanaticism that they can’t understand the distinction between thinking that it’s legal to post the ten commandments in the courthouse and thinking that it’s okay to defy a binding fedral court order to remove it? The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, for crying out loud, and the Supreme Court refused to overturn the appeals court decision. Case over, folks. Just because you don’t like the ruling doesn’t mean that a sitting judge can defy the order and refuse to follow it, and it doesn’t mean that a state attorney general, especially one up for nomination to the federal bench, can endorse such defiance. If you don’t think that the federal courts have jurisdiction, then by all means get busy trying to repeal the 14th amendment. But as long as it’s there, they do have jurisdiction, they made their ruling, and whether Judge Moore or his supporters like it or not, that decision is binding and must be enforced. Alabama has a long history of wanting to defy court orders, of course, going back at least to trying to defy the school desegregation rulings. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. And no judge who thinks that he has the authority to defy a federal court order is fit for the bench.