August 21, 2003 at 4:29 PM EST - Updated June 23 at 11:52 AM
(Montgomery-AP) - Governor Bob Riley says Alabama is bound by law to follow a court order to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building - even though he "fundamentally disagrees" with the decision.
Riley said today that keeping the monument against the order of a federal judge would "incur some of the most expensive fines ever imposed on Alabama." He says the cash-strapped state simply can't afford it.
The governor went on to say he supports Chief Justice Roy Moore's appeal to the U-S Supreme Court. He also says that if the high court reverses the lower courts' rulings, "we should not waste one second of time returning the monument to the rotunda."
STATEMENT BY GOV. BOB RILEY ON THE TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENT
"Today is a sad day in Alabama.Because of a series of what I believe to be erroneous federal court rulings, theTen Commandments monument has been ordered removed from the AlabamaJudicialBuilding.Although I fundamentally disagree with what the federal courts have ordered, the State Supreme Court was correct in unanimously voting to uphold the rule of law.
Because we are a society of laws, the Alabama Supreme Court has a duty to comply with the federal court order, whether they agree with it or not.By not complying, the state stood to incur some of the most expensive fines ever imposed on Alabama.The suggested fines could have exceeded $1 billion within just four months.With an already underfunded judicial system, as evidenced by the suspension of jury trials in the past, and the current $675 million shortfall that threatens further cuts, the associate justices took the only responsible course of action.
Attorney General Bill Pryor should be commended for showing similar resolve to ensure that the rule of law prevails in Alabama.General Pryor and I will continue to pursue every possible course of legal action to protect the First Amendment rights of all Alabamians.
I support the public display of the Ten Commandments and have, in the past, filed an amicusbrief to the 11th Circuit in support of Chief Justice Moore's position.In addition, I am prepared to file a similar brief in support of his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.Once this case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and the lower courts' rulings have been reversed, we should not waste one second of time returning the monument to the rotunda."