Speech by Government Employees
JMHACLJ at AOL.COM
Thu Jan 1 15:10:12 PST 1998
In a message dated 98-01-01 09:18:53 EST, you write:
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.
Well, no doubt this is how you feel. But feelings are not a substitute for a
constitutional rule. That a litigant is discomfitted by the display in one
public area of a government property but not by one in a less, infrequently or
unvisisted area is a subjective standard not obvious in the plain language.
<<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.>>
This "hysteria and hyperbole" stuff is not much of a stand-in for argument,
but I usually get my nose clipped if I point these things out. That the
ACLU's interior design philosophy might have allowed the "in camera" posting
of the Decalogue lacks even the veneer of a constitutional justification.
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