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   A Judge Prejudged

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News Date

8/29/2003 12:00 am

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Media

Washington Post

Category

Commentary

Database Record

Entered 8/29/2003, Updated 8/29/2003

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On Wednesday Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor oversaw the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state Supreme Court building. Pryor believes that the court ruling ordering the removal was incorrect. After all, the U.S. Supreme Court building itself has depictions of the Ten Commandments. The court opens its sessions with an invocation of God. And we know the other familiar elements of state-sponsored religion in America, from the chaplains in Congress to "In God We Trust" on the coinage. Despite his personal views, Pryor was unequivocal in ordering the removal. He was equally unequivocal in his reason for doing so: The rule of law supersedes everything. And when a federal court issues an order, there is no standing in the schoolhouse door. For his pains, Pryor was picketed by 150 religious protesters calling for his resignation. Pryor has more recently been attacked from a different quarter. Senate Democrats have blocked his nomination to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the grounds of his personal beliefs. "His beliefs are so well known, so deeply held," charged his chief antagonist, Sen. Charles Schumer, "that it's very hard to believe -- very hard to believe -- that they're not going to deeply influence the way he comes about saying, 'I will follow the law.' " An amazing litmus test: Deeply held beliefs are a disqualification for high judicial office. Only people of shallow beliefs (like Schumer?) need apply.


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