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November 11, 2003 8:26 AM   Subscribe

Judgment Day: Roy Moore faces the music for defying federal law. Misconduct aside, will Roy Moore become a martyr? I think he should go, but is it wise? I believe it is; I mean someone needs to reign the "runaway" judiciary the Republicans are always talking about. (Who knew that their own straw-man would bite them it the ass?)
posted by Bag Man (23 comments total)
What, they should keep him around just because he's a potential hydra monster, politically speaking? Whether he'll be a martyr or not should not be a concern of the judicial system. They should throw him out, consequences be damned. It'll be a shame if he stays. Next question?
posted by raysmj at 8:40 AM on November 11, 2003


Just to make what I said clear I think Moore should be gone too, but this is an issue that evokes strong emotion and has the potential to become a national issue with crazies like Moore leading the battle for the "Goddies." Frankly any judge that refuses to follow the law should not be on the bench, and Moore fits that description. Hence he should go.
posted by Bag Man at 9:04 AM on November 11, 2003

Well, yeah. But you're implying that whether he should stay or go is worthy of hot debate, becuase of the potential political ramifications. This subject is not worthy of any such debate. How he got there, or how things came to this sad and pathetic point, and how to stop him, is entirely another matter.
posted by raysmj at 9:11 AM on November 11, 2003

Given that he's a judge in one of the highest positions defying court orders, I think he should go. But I agree with Bag Man, he's going to be a total martyr. Crazy churches are going to point to his ousting as liberal secularists declaring war on him, even though it's a pretty cut and dry case: You break the law while being a judge, you don't get to be judge anymore.
posted by mathowie at 9:11 AM on November 11, 2003

I agree with Bag Man as well - Roy Moore will just take up travelling the far-right/fundamentalist $10,000 a pop lecture circuit. Then, he'll run for political office.

There has to be some tactic which would prevent this annoying outcome, but I'm just not sure what it is. Any ideas out there?
posted by troutfishing at 9:19 AM on November 11, 2003

Any ideas out there?

Maybe Jesus will come in the sweet by and by and take them all away.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:23 AM on November 11, 2003

This guy really shouldn't be sitting as a judge in any court. Even though he was elected by the people of Alabama, his entire career in the judiciary is based on promoting the notion that all laws derive from the ten commandments. This narrow view which looks to divine inspiration as a substitute for legal analysis flies in the face of the intent of the founders in separating religion from government.

The founders decided that religion and democratic government were a bad mix.

Democracy tends toward relativism in that the laws that are formed by a democratically elected government come about as a result of compromise and an effort to foster the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

Religion tends toward absolutism with religious precepts formulated on the basis of the inspired intuition of a select few and not subject to challenge. This approach does not lead to stable government.

The founders were indeed wise.
posted by mygoditsbob at 9:39 AM on November 11, 2003

Two words: Governor Moore.

posted by ptermit at 9:48 AM on November 11, 2003

One way to counter the possibility of Moore being a martyr, would be for the Attorney General and/or the Alabama Supreme Court to issue a statement clearly explaining that:
a) Moore was "fired" for violating the law
b) He was not fired for his religious convictions
c) That religious motivation is a fine and dandy thing, but American jurisprudence in accordance with the Constitution requires administrative agnosticism*.

Were such a statement part of the public record, then if Moore (or his acolytes) tried to say he was a victim of secularism, this statement would stand as evidence to the contrary.

Though such evidentiary standards would probably not hold much truck with those who sympathise with Moore, it really is the high road, morally speaking.

*administrative agnosticism: the true "cash value" of separation of church and state -- i.e., regardless of the religious convictions of the people who fulfill government roles, they must act as if they were agnostic. It also incorporates the distinction between motive and justification: a judge may be motivated by her religious beliefs, and that's can be a wonderful thing, as long as the justifications for the decisions of her office are not.
posted by yesster at 9:56 AM on November 11, 2003

Moore's Law
posted by homunculus at 10:42 AM on November 11, 2003

Moore is setting himself up for a run for public office. And, this being Dixie, he'll win, 'cause he combines the two elements that us Southerners looooove to vote for: a contempt for the federal government and a publicly espoused passion for Jeebus. A very white supply-side Jeebus.

(Please, someone, anyone, offer me a job elsewhere. Like, Canada. I'm stuck in a state so backwards and blinkered that its leaders make Dubyuh look like a legitimately elected stateman....)

I guess it could be worse. At least we're not at Utah levels of fundamental fanaticism (yet).

In other news, a congregationalist church in Birmingham conducted a wedding for a lesbian couple a few weeks ago and the earth has neither spun off its axis nor have the four horsemen of the apocalypse appeared in the sky over Highland Avenue. So maybe there's hope. At least until Guvner Moore ascends the mountain to bring us the other commandments:

11. Thou shalt not take the name Bear Bryant in vain, unless thine children attended Auburn, in which case thou art already doomed to perdition and bereft of a hope of a bowl game.
12. Thou shalt loathe and abominate anything thou dost not immediately comprehend.
13. Thou shalt complain bitterly about the intrusive and godless feds whilst thou art lining up to receive thine check.
14. Thou shalt swear fealty to the GOP, the party which God hand-picked to lead our fair state into the wonders of the 20th century. Someday.
15. Thou shalt attend both Wednesday and Sunday services, lest thine neighbors talk about thee.
16. When in doubt, thou shalt Blame the Negroes.
17. If thou art black and in doubt, thou shalt Blame the Jews.
18. If thou art Jewish and in doubt, thou art fucked, since thou should know better than to be in Alabama in the first place. What wast thou thinking?
19. If thou art Mexican and in doubt, welcome to Alabama. Please open a restaurant as soon as thou art through trimming mine hedges.
20. Thou shalt strike down any tax reform aimed at funding education, because thine children will be more tractable janitors if they can only read the Bible.

/bitter screed
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:16 AM on November 11, 2003

any judge that refuses to follow the law should not be on the bench

Easiest. Concept. Ever.

Isn't there some punishment beyond mere firing for "violating federal law" that he should be subject to? I know if I were to break one I'd expect to lose more than just my job.
posted by rushmc at 12:17 PM on November 11, 2003

12. Thou shalt loathe and abominate anything thou dost not immediately comprehend.

lol Priceless.
posted by rushmc at 12:18 PM on November 11, 2003

A martyr for who? People who are already believe that the bible is the perfect word of God and that there should be no separation of church and state. Those people don't need a martyr; they already believe Jesus died to prove them right.
posted by Hildago at 3:09 PM on November 11, 2003

"intentionally and publicly engaged in misconduct, and because he remains unrepentant for his behavior."

This is a major problem with the legal system in the US, and I think far more disturbing than the issue at hand.

"Your honor, I robbed the bank." == 20 years.

"Your honor, I robbed the bank, and I'm sorry." == 10 years.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. While motive before a crime should matter, that you feel bad about it afterwards shouldn't count for diddly.

I am reminded of the California child murderer who flipped off the jury. After the verdict, one juror said, "I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until his flipped us off, but then I knew he was guilty."

This is not justice. It is putting people in prison or not based on how you feel about them. In the case of the Judge, he obviously screwed up, and for that he should pay. But NOT because he is unrepentant.
posted by kablam at 4:42 PM on November 11, 2003

I must say, as an Alabamian, it seems that although most people here really do support Moore in his Ten Commandments issue, they don't support his actions. They've realized that the money of the state government that he's spent could be better used, given that the state is having one of the worse budget crisises.
posted by fros1y at 6:21 PM on November 11, 2003

Wrong, wrong, wrong. While motive before a crime should matter, that you feel bad about it afterwards shouldn't count for diddly.

True, but it makes for better theater, which is our highest priority these days.
posted by rushmc at 7:09 PM on November 11, 2003

While motive before a crime should matter, that you feel bad about it afterwards shouldn't count for diddly.

I think that depends on what you think the purpose of the justice system is, whether it should be weighted more heavily toward punishment or toward rehabilitation/crime prevention. Someone who genuinely feels remorse for a crime is ostensibly less of a recidivism risk than someone who doesn't.
posted by biscotti at 7:32 PM on November 11, 2003

Someone who genuinely feels remorse for a crime is ostensibly less of a recidivism risk than someone who doesn't.

Yes, and saying you feel remorse, in a courtroom, to the judge/jury that holds your fate in their hands, is demonstrably genuine....
posted by rushmc at 8:03 PM on November 11, 2003

But either of the two parts, the trial to determine if you committed a crime, or the sentence you are given *if* convicted, are corrupted by "feelings", rather than facts.

It is *not* better that ugly people are routinely convicted while pretty people walk. But taken further, why should someone be *punished for a crime* just because they are cynical, sarcastic, rude, lewd, crude, dirty or impolite?

I've known many individuals that for any number of reasons people typically don't like them. Not for any real reason, even, just that their "aura" is bad or they give off negative waves, or some crap like that.

But how corrupt *is* the system? Requiring people to attend "re-education" or "group therapy", and the notorious "community service" punishment, are all strong indicators that it's not *crime* that's being punished, but anti- or asocial behavior.

It is not a crime to be a sociopath, as long as you don't harm others. It just means that you are unable to empathize with other people. But when a court tries to force a sociopath to have "feelings", and courts do, it is as nonsensical as trying to force them to grow wings and fly.

comparatively, is it less cruel to put someone in prison for six months of beatings, sexual abuse and torment; or to give them a couple dozen lashes across the backside? If given a choice, most people would vie for the lashes. But if given the option for someone else, they would say that lashes are "cruel and unusual."

Without facts, logic and reason, there is no justice in the justice system.
posted by kablam at 9:03 PM on November 11, 2003

Well said, kablam. Your last sentence sums up one of what I think are the four main reasons there is, in fact, no justice in the current justice system in the U.S. (the other three being unequal access to the mechanisms of justice, insufficient oversight and unpunished abuses of the system, and excessive complexity (which leads to a warped and predatory role for attorneys and a loss of timely resolution)).
posted by rushmc at 6:51 AM on November 12, 2003

Fascinating. You gotta watch out for these crazy "fundies". They are SO fundamentalist that:

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth"
(the 2nd Commandment, Exodus 28:4)

Clearly the monument violates itself! So much for "fundamentals".

What surprises me is that I've not seen anyone else raise this point. I researched the whole "graven image" thing to discover this essentially covers any sculpture.
posted by Goofyy at 8:45 AM on November 13, 2003

Not only sculpture, but painting too! At least if you're Orthodox Jewish (as I recall from my unbelievably limited knowledge of Mosiac law.)
posted by Snyder at 11:57 PM on November 13, 2003

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