Monday, August 25, 2003

Holy Roller Judges? Razor, I agree with what you say entirely, but you seem to be arguing the question of whether judges should use the ten commandments as precedent. To be fair, I haven't heard Justice Moore argue that he should do so (though I admit I haven't been following this story that closely), nor have I. (Flyer will have to justify his points himself.) I'm simply questioning whether the commandments might have a fair place as a symbolic monument. Obviously a monument to a great lawgiver like Solon (whose image is on a bas-relief in the House of Representatives, I believe) does not mean that we reason our laws from Solon's. Nor does it make us Greek. Or pagans. It is a symbolic acknowledgement of the ages-old process to codify fair laws, a tradition in which the Jews, and thus the Torah, have their place alongside Solon or Hammurabi or even English common law (however much we may or may not depart from their traditions).

Further, to adjudicate in this case in favor of removing the monument based on your reasoning, we must assume that the 8 presiding justices who decided that it should be removed were motivated out of fear that some judge might get the idea, from walking past the monument presumably, that he should be judging cases based on the commandments. With all due respect to the unknowable court, I doubt that was their reasoning.

Perhaps I have missed your point entirely. Oh, and thanks for clarifying the federal/state First Amendment issue.

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