Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (search) stood firm Thursday, saying he has no intention of removing a Ten Commandments (search ) monument from the rotunda of the state judicial building, and will file papers taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"We have a federal judge saying we can't recognize who God is, yet that's the basis of our justice system," Moore told Fox News Thursday. "They have the audacity to come into our court and say we have to remove the foundation of our law, which is the Ten Commandments."
His decision came six days before the Aug. 20 deadline for the 5,300-pound monument to be removed from the building's rotunda, where it is in clear sight of visitors coming in the main entrance.
"I have no intention of removing the monument," Moore said at a news conference. "This I cannot and will not do."
But Fox News has learned at least one of the justices on the Alabama Supreme Court has expressed discontent with Moore’s decision on the monument in a conference of associate justices Thursday, and has suggested the court could break ranks with Moore.
While Moore is the chief justice of the court, a majority of the panel could conceivably overrule his decision to leave the monument in place despite the ruling of a federal court.
Senior Associate Justice J. Gorman Houston released a written statement after Justice Moore’s speech in which he suggested he had not been consulted on the decision.
His written statement said, in part: “I had tried to find out what Roy Moore intended to do earlier but I was unable to do so.” He added he and the other associate justices will “take whatever steps are necessary, one: To make certain that the state of Alabama and the unified judicial system of the state does not have to pay a fine, two: To assure that the state of Alabama is ‘a government of laws not of men’ as our Constitution requires.”
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson (search) of Montgomery, who ruled the monument violates the constitution's ban on government promotion of religion, had said fines of about $5,000 a day would have been imposed against the state if the monument were not removed.
Moore pledged to ask the Supreme Court to overrule Thompson and said the promised fines would add to the approximate $125 million the state has already spent defending the monument's place. The state is spending $25,000 a day of taxpayers' money on the case, Moore said.
Moore accused Thompson of a "callous disregard for the people of Alabama" and their tax dollars.
In Pennsylvania on Wednesday, a federal appeals court refused to reconsider a ruling that allowed a decades-old Ten Commandments plaque to remain on the facade of a courthouse in suburban Philadelphia.
A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel had ruled in June that the 1920 plaque did not constitute an official endorsement of religion because county commissioners who wanted to keep it were motivated by historic preservation. The full court on Wednesday unanimously refused to reconsider that ruling.
Fox News' Jonathan Serrie and The Associated Press contributed to this report.