News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
MONDAY, JULY 18, 2005


Roy Moore won’t be next Supreme Court appointee

Conservative activists say they have collected 122,000 signatures on petitions recommending Roy Moore for the U.S. Supreme Court, but they are unlikely to get the one signature that matters: "George W. Bush."

Mr. Moore, ousted chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, is known nationally for one issue: the Ten Commandments. His refusal to remove a monument from the state's main courthouse in Montgomery got him tossed out of office, and he is a hero to those who think he sacrificed his career for a principle they believe in.

But his defense of the Ten Commandments was also defiance of a federal court order to get them off public property. So he's out of the mainstream of judicial thought with respect to both his views on separation of church and state and his belief that he — as a judge, of all people — has the right not to obey a court order.

Although President Bush obviously wants to put a conservative on the Supreme Court, the White House has sent a couple of signals that it is keeping this conservative judge at arm's length.

For one thing, Mr. Bush nominated Bill Pryor for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals even though Mr. Pryor, as Alabama's attorney general, had successfully sought Mr. Moore's removal from office. And then there was a "First Ladies Inaugural Tea" in Washington last January, where Mr. Moore was speaking and Laura Bush was conspicuously absent.

Even if Mr. Bush nominated him for the high court, Mr. Moore would have no chance of being confirmed by the Senate, which had to be cajoled into confirming the more moderate Mr. Pryor for a lower court.

No, if Roy Moore has a future in public office, it's not on the federal bench. Perhaps his supporters are just trying to raise his already high profile in Alabama in anticipation that he will run for governor.

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