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Exclusive! Former Judge Roy Moore on 'Supreme' Decisions

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," June 27, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: A divided Supreme Court ruled today that displaying the Ten Commandments (search) on government land is not a violation of the Constitution as long as the intent is historic and not religious. The court found that a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol (search) was a legitimate tribute to the nation's legal history, but the court found that two framed copies of Commandments in two Kentucky courthouses went too far in endorsing religion and therefore violated the Constitution.

Joining us now is a man who led his own fight to keep the Ten Commandment monument in the Alabama State courthouse, the author of "So Help Me God," the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore.

Justice Moore, good to see you once again.

JUDGE ROY MOORE, FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF ALABAMA SUPREME COURT: Thank you.

COLMES: How do you do, sir?

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, judge, good to see you.

MOORE: Thank you.

COLMES: Should the government stay neutral?

MOORE: It's not the role of the government to stay neutral.

COLMES: It's not?

MOORE: It's the role of God to stay neutral. You see, that's a great misinterpretation of who gives us our religious liberty, who allows you to believe what you want. It's God.

COLMES: But don't you believe our founders meant the government is neutral on religion, doesn't take sides either way?

MOORE: Neutral on religion, but religion is not God. And that's the great confusion. And that's what this court avoids, the definition of the word "religion."

Religion is defined by our forefathers who recognized God in higher law. And they did so for a purpose. It was because they believed that God gave us that religious liberty. In fact, as late as 1946, the United States Supreme Court — and I have the case right here — recognized that God gives us that religious liberty.

COLMES: You always come with all these notes... Today, two decisions, OK? One of them did say, in historical context, it made sense to have religious representation as part of a larger display.

MOORE: Right.

COLMES: Do you agree with that?

MOORE: Well, historically, we did acknowledge God, but not just historically. The First Amendment (search) prohibits the federal government from interfering with the state's rights to acknowledge God. And we can acknowledge God today as a sovereign over the state.

COLMES: If you put the Ten Commandments up...

MOORE: Yes.

COLMES: ... aren't there different versions of the Ten Commandments? Protestants says, for example, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Catholics says, "I am the lord, thy god. Thou not have strange gods before me."

If you choose one, aren't you then establishing that religion?

MOORE: You have to understand, throughout this opinion, there was not one discussion about the different versions of the Ten Commandments. It was about whether it was too religious or not religious enough. And, you see, it was about whether or not the state can acknowledge God, which is the basic issue in this case in which the court still does not address.

COLMES: But they said the state can acknowledge God as part of a larger display having to do with historic precedent.

MOORE: They said the state can acknowledge God only if it's not religious, only if you deny its religious significance, only if you deny there is a God, you can say it's...

COLMES: I don't see it that way. You're the attorney here and the justice, but didn't it say that you can have God acknowledged as long as it shows part of a historic display that's not overtly religious or promoting a particular religion?

MOORE: As long as you secularize the display, as long as you reduce it to not a present acknowledgement of God, they say you can do it. So you're actually letting the government, the courts, tell you what you can do by what you believe, and that's improper.

HANNITY: Hey, Judge, good to see you. Thank you for joining us.

You read the Scalia dissent, being joined by Rehnquist, and Thomas, and later by Kennedy, in the Kentucky case. I found those arguments to be the most compelling I've ever read on a case. He outlines historically...

MOORE: Oh, Sure.

HANNITY: ... the different branches of government, the references to God in documents at the conventions, I mean, all across the board. I mean...

MOORE: Well, it's very true. The first thing our forefathers did when they wrote the First Amendment was to declare a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to God. The first thing Congress did was vote in chaplains.

Throughout our history, we have acknowledged God. But you know, what this opinion does, is it does not address the textural definition of the words in the First Amendment.

HANNITY: But then he did something — oh, go ahead. Finish your thought.

MOORE: Well, throughout these 10 various writings, the words of the First Amendment are mentioned once in a footnote, footnote three on page four. We have to know that Congress means something, law means something. A monument's not a law. No one in the listening audience would assume that a monument is a law.

HANNITY: And then a stinging rebuke to his colleagues and he says...

MOORE: Yes.

HANNITY: ... "This has only been something basically in the last 50 years, this interpretation." And he lays out the case for the first, what, 170 years. I thought that was the most effective argument.

MOORE: I think that was one of the most effective arguments. And I agreed with Justice Scalia 100 percent. He's saying that only since the mid-20th century has this court turned to jurisprudence which is not justified in history or law. He said that is a problem.

HANNITY: When you couple these decisions today with the decision that we got last week about property rights, I think — that was probably one of the scariest decisions I have ever read in my life, considering the Constitution directly deals with the issue and now they have redefined...

MOORE: What you're seeing, when you distant yourself from an acknowledgment of God, your life, liberty and property are in jeopardy. I hold in my hand one of the books that the forefathers held. This is not a copy. This is the original book. And property...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Want to sell it on eBay? You could get a lot...

MOORE: You can see yourself, property was defined out of Genesis in this book. It was defined when the all bountiful creator...

HANNITY: Now, what is this book that you have, Judge?

MOORE: This is the volume two of the commentaries on the laws of England. And one thousand of these books was printed in Philadelphia in 1771. This is where they got the definitions of life, liberty and property.

Property was related to God giving man dominion over the Earth. So it was related to God. When the state takes the place of God, then the state starts taking your property for economic purposes.

HANNITY: All right. There is a lot of talk about you running for governor of the state of Alabama.

MOORE: There is a lot of talk. I've been asked many times to run, and I am seriously considering it. I'm praying about it, and I'll make my decision sometime in the fall.

HANNITY: Has the door been opened for you?

MOORE: I think the door is open.

HANNITY: Wide open? Well, what are you supposed to do when a door is open for you?

MOORE: Well, pray about it. If God wants you to go through the door, then...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Did he open the door?

MOORE: He opened the door.

HANNITY: There's my answer. You're running.

MOORE: Well, we'll see. We'll see.

HANNITY: Do you want to run? Is this something you want to do, you think?

MOORE: Well, it's something I think that the state needs, but the question is, is that what I'm to do? Is that what God would have me do?

COLMES: How will God give you that signal?

MOORE: Well, maybe when they vote...

HANNITY: And tell you to come back to "Hannity & Colmes," to make your announcement.

COLMES: God wants you to make the announcement right here, I understand, Justice Moore. I just checked with him.

Thank you very much. Good to see you.

MOORE: Well, thank you.

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