Speech by Government Employees
robertmw at MINDSPRING.COM
Thu Jan 1 08:20:26 PST 1998
At 03:58 AM 1/1/98 EST, Jim Henderson wrote:
>Yes. But from thence we must pass to the courtrooms, chambers, offices,
>lounges and hallways of hundreds of thousands of government actors and
>of their unwelcome "personalizations" of public space.
Not at all. With respect, it is hysteria and hyperbole to jump from
judge-invited prayer in the courtroom, or display of the ten commandments
over Judge Moore's right shoulder with the Great Seal of Alabama over his
left (see http://www.judgemoore.org/ ), to prohibitions on
"personalizations" of chambers, offices, etc. -- *particularly* in the face
of explicit pleadings by the ACLU that if the ten commandments were
displayed only in Judge Moore's chambers it would present an entirely
different case that they would likely not have brought.
>Until Judge Jones
>removes his wife's picture from his desk, Senator Smith takes down from his
>office wall the Certificate of Appreciation from the local Jaycees, and John
>Q. Publicemployee removes his daughter's artwork from his cubbiewall, I will
>remain exceedingly hostile to this bizarre and unwarranted focus on the
>religious expression of Judge Moore.
There is simply no comparison. I'd wondered if Jim's earlier reference to
"unwelcome 'personalizations' of public space" was a freudian slip. (Are
all "public" places the next "mission field"?) The courtroom doesn't belong
to Judge Moore in the same sense that his chambers are his to decorate as
he pleases. The power and sovereignty of the state are not brought to bear
on the public in Moore's office, unless he makes a routine of taking
litigants, lawyers, and others into his chambers to pray over resolution of
a case or disposition of a criminal sentence (which has been alleged from
time to time in other Alabama counties and is, I suspect, why the ACLU left
the door open on the issue of the display of the commandments in chambers).
Apples and oranges.
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Rob Weinberg, Montgomery, AL
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