Transcript: Justice Moore on His Monumental Battle

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, August, 20 2003 that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order a transcript of the entire show.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: We are now just a few hours away from the deadline for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments (search) from his courthouse grounds.

Some of Justice Moore's supporters were handcuffed tonight after refusing to leave the monument. Earlier, they held a contributory negligence, hoping to convince state leaders that it should not be removed. So, what happens next?

Joining us now from his courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Mr. Chief Justice, welcome back to the program. Good to see you again, sir.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROY MOORE, ALABAMA SUPREME COURT: Thank you, Sean. It's nice to be with you.

HANNITY: We appreciate it.

All right. So we have this order. You appealed to the Supreme Court (search). The Supreme Court refused to block the removal of the Ten Commandments. What happens next?

MOORE: Well, we just sit it out and wait it out. The point is it's not about violation of order, it's about violation of my oath of office. And my oath of office to the Constitution requires an acknowledgment of God. It's that simple.

HANNITY: Yes. Do you know if there's any effort that is planned to be underway in terms of forcibly taking the Ten Commandments out of there? And it's 5,100 pounds, as I understand it. This is not a light monument here. But they got it in. Certainly, if they want to get it out, they probably could, I assume.

MOORE: I don't know of any effort to move the monument at this time.

HANNITY: What will you do if, in fact, that begins to happen?

MOORE: Well, I've done what I can do in court, and I don't think that I could physically chain myself to a monument or anything like that. But I will stand against anyone moving the monument.

HANNITY: It's very likely, Mr. Chief Justice, that you are going to be held in contempt of court. It's very likely that you and probably and/or the state of Alabama will be fined. Correct?

MOORE: That's correct.

HANNITY: Are you concerned about going to jail?

MOORE: Well, I'm not concerned about anything as long as I keep my oath of my office. And that's what I was sworn to do and that's what I was elected to do. And the people that elected me knew that I was acknowledging God. They knew what they were electing.

HANNITY: You know something? I was thinking about this after I spoke to you earlier today. You know, in the last 40 years there's been this effort, Mr. Chief Justice, to drive God out of the public arena. And it's clear to me, from all the reading I've had of history and of our Founding Fathers and the original intent, which we often talk about, that these were really religious men. They never had any intentions such as where we are now headed today. And I guess this is probably the latest example.

But I wonder, and I fear that if this somehow is symbolic of a last stand, if you will. Does that concern you?

MOORE: It does concern me, Sean. And really, you're very correct. In the last 40 years, they've been taking away the knowledge of God from our society bit by bit.

In fact, people don't know what's been going on in the court system. For 40 years they've been saying you can acknowledge God as long as you don't really believe it. If it's ceremonial deism, or if it's lost through repetition any religious significance.

So, really they're saying you can do something as long as you don't believe in it and I think that's a shame.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Mr. Justice, let me just move forward here. I thank you for coming on our show, Mr. Chief Justice.

MOORE: Yes, sir.

COLMES: Thank you for being here. God is everywhere. Right?

MOORE: God is everywhere. You're right.

COLMES: So, if God is everywhere, the God's already in the courthouse. God is within us. The state doesn't have the power to remove that. A monument doesn't make God be there.

MOORE: Right.

COLMES: A monument doesn't mean that that's why God is there.


COLMES: It's just a symbol, a good one, but a symbol.

MOORE: It's a symbol. That's right.

COLMES: So the government doesn't have the power to take God out of anywhere.

MOORE: That's right. And if he's there everywhere and if it's a symbol, then the government doesn't have the right to remove a symbol.

You see, what it is, Alan, is the same thing that's going on down at the federal courthouse. They put a symbol of Venus (search), the goddess of justice… the Greek goddess of justice in front of the courthouse and they haven't moved their Greek goddess. And that's not what our justice system is founded upon. Our justice system is founded upon the laws of God. If you look at the Declaration, you see it very plainly in the first sentence.

COLMES: You took an oath of office, true. And isn't one of the oaths you took to uphold the law and to obey the law?

MOORE: That's right.

COLMES: And is it bad, if you are found in contempt of court? Does that then mean you are in abrogation of your duty as a judge by not obeying the court order?

MOORE: No, because a court order is not law if it contradicts the Constitution you're sworn to uphold. Our Constitution very plainly says that the system of justice in Alabama is established invoking the favor and guidance of almighty God.

And if a court tells you you can't acknowledge God, as this court has said, then he's telling me I can't do my duty and I can't…I must violate my oath.

COLMES: Are you willing to take this to the point where you would cost the taxpayers of Alabama $5,000 a day, the number that's been floated as perhaps costing the taxpayers of Alabama? Would you let it get to that point where it's costing the taxpayers of your state that much money on a daily basis?

MOORE: The question is our forefathers gave their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish this country on God. Are we going to give up that inalienable right? Because it's very serious if we do. When we forget where our rights come from, then government will take them from us.

COLMES: Are you then saying there's nothing the state says, nothing the federal judge says, nothing the government says will get you to remove that monument, even if it means you're in violation of a court order, even if you're found in contempt of court and even if the state is fined $5,000 a day?

MOORE: I'm sworn to uphold my oath and that's what I will do.

COLMES: I just want to get a sense here, I want to try one more time to get an understanding of what you're going to do and how far you'll take this.

The Supreme Court said today they're not going to hear the case, they're going to let this stand. You're not going to take this monument down by midnight tonight. What happens after that and how far do you go?

MOORE: Well, you've got to understand, Alan, that the court did not say they would not hear the case. The case is still at the Supreme Court. We have a Writ of Prohibition and a Writ of Mandamus against the judge. And we are also filing a petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

So, the case will proceed to the Supreme Court and we will continue to fight this case. They haven't heard the case yet. The only thing they've heard is whether or not they would stay the order of the federal judge. And you're right, they did say that they would not.

COLMES: And if they don't take the case or if they don't rule in your favor, if they do take the case, what do you do then?

MOORE: Well, they will take the case if they grant cert. So we have to wait and see if they do that.

COLMES: What are you prepared to do if you don't get your way?

MOORE: Well, it's not my way, Alan. What I'm doing is upholding my oath to the constitution of Alabama. You've got to understand that the justice system is established on acknowledging God and I am the chief administrative officer of the justice system. If a judge tells me I can't acknowledge God, he tells me I can't do my duty.

I have got to uphold the rule of law. The rule of law goes back to our Declaration of Independence (search) as described by the United States...

COLMES: Would you resign over this if you ultimately felt that you were prevented from... if you believe this is your oath and that you're not permitted to uphold your oath, would you resign, given that choice?

MOORE: I have no intention of resigning from an office that the people elected me to do when they knew that I would uphold my oath to acknowledge God.

The problem with politicians today is they say they'll do one thing and then they get in office and they do something else. I acknowledged God before I was elected to office. People knew that. And I was sworn to uphold the Constitution, and when I took office I did exactly what I was sworn to do.

COLMES: Acknowledging God is one thing. As we talked, as I believe that you do, that God is everywhere. But that doesn't mean there's an obligation in order to show that by putting up a monument that is deemed by a court not to be appropriate in a particular place.

And by the way, they did say you could put it in your office. Right?

MOORE: Well, yes, they did. But you know, the federal court isn't an interior decorator of the Alabama judicial building. When we get to the point when the federal court comes down and tells us where we can move our furniture, you've got to understand that a monument, a piece of stone, with the Ten Commandments on it or anything on it is not a law.


MOORE: And the law they say they're enforcing is Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. They're not even interpreting the words of the statute; so they're not going by the law. They're lawless judges.

HANNITY: Mr. Chief Justice, Sean Hannity again.

And there were 1000’s of people rallying in support of your position over the weekend. I had Ambassador Alan Keyes (search) on my radio program yesterday. And he's asking people from neighboring states to come to Montgomery, Alabama, and rally in support of you. Some people were arrested tonight.

Do you support what he's doing?

MOORE: Well, I support people standing up for their rights, and if they don't stand up for their rights now, they'll have them completely taken away.

The rights come from God, as stated in the Declaration, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights...’


MOORE: ... ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’


MOORE: It goes on to say in the next sentence that government is there to secure the rights God gave us, and if it shouldn't secure them, it should be abolished.

HANNITY: You know, we have a prayer in the House and Senate, as we discussed earlier, we've had this 40-year history of driving God out of the public arena.

We have ‘In God We Trust’ on U.S. coinage, ‘One nation under God.’

The reason I think this case is so important, Mr. Chief Justice, and why I agree with your stand here, and I read the Alabama Constitution and I think your interpretation is correct.

Why I think this is so important is because this is the first step in the final lap of what has been this series of this assault against God in the public square. And I believe it's the Pledge next. I believe it's our coinage next, and I believe any reference to God even in school is now going to be totally and completely eliminated.

For whatever reason, I think the people on the left, they have failed to read the intentions of our founding fathers. And they will replace it with a set of amoral values. There's no doubt about that. Correct?

MOORE: That's right. As a matter of fact, just today in Colorado, a federal district court said that the schools in Colorado couldn't repeat the Pledge of Allegiance, following the lead of California.

HANNITY: That's correct.

MOORE: And on July 31 of 2003, another court said the Boy Scouts from California were a religious organization simply because they professed to believe in God and couldn't contract, I believe it was with the city of San Diego.


MOORE: We've got to come to an understanding that you can't judge by just how you feel. And that's what they're doing today.

The Pledge of Allegiance was installed in 1954, and they made a distinction between religion as an institution and a belief in the sovereignty of God and I could quote it but I know we don't have time.

COLMES: Mr. Chief Justice, we thank you for coming on. We hope you'll come back on the show as we follow this story.

HANNITY: We'll be following it.

COLMES: Thank you very much for being here with us tonight.

MOORE: Thank you.

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