Thursday, October 07, 2004
On this day:

Stephen Glassroth and the Ten Commandments

The Montgomery Advertiser certainly made an interesting choice in choosing Stephen Glassroth as one of two "legal experts" cited in a story discussing the outcome of the Siegelman/Hamrick trial. Glassroth's claim to fame is the court case that bears his name, Glassroth v. Moore. He was one of three plaintiffs who sued to have Justice Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument removed from the Alabama Supreme Court building. According to Glassroth's complaint to the U.S. District Court, "Each sighting of the monument - however brief - is an affront to Mr. Glassroth." "I have to swallow my feelings every time I walk into the judicial building," he said on another occasion.

The courts were favorable to Mr. Glassroth, ruling that Moore's addition to the Supreme Court building's decor was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment's establishment clause as applied to the states by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In the end, the offending monument was removed, with the acquiescence of the State of Alabama. "Roy's Rock" was carted out as secretly as it had been unveiled. Mr. Glassworth had his victory.

But, wait! What is this? A scroll of parchment, tattered and yellow, has mysteriously appeared before me. I know not what it is, but its arrival portends that a force outside my control and understanding has summoned me to transcribe it for the ages. Though the words are faded and a strain to my earthly orbs, I shall do what fate has fated, and write what must be written:

"And the sagely lawyer didst speak thusly:

The commandments of Glassroth, are here written.

  1. Thou shalt not offend me, for my feelings are supreme.
  2. Thou shalt not replace my judgment with thine own, nor with that of any other inferior being.
  3. Thou shalt not mock my intellect nor my competence, for even if thou knowest not, I am the guarantor of thy liberty.
  4. Remember to pay me, for I keep it wholly.
  5. Consider me thy father and thy mother; Honor me so that thy days in freedom shall be long and prosperous.
  6. Thou shalt not kill unless thou art a member of a distinctive group that is overrepresented in the prison population, in which case we can maketh a deal.
  7. Thou mayest commit adultery only if thine answer to "habeas corpus" is "quod erat demonstratum."
  8. Thou mayest bribe or steal provided thou art a politician with a parenthetical "D" behind thy name or thou canst attract funds from the ACLU or my good friend, Morris Dees.
  9. Thou shalt not utter any statement that conflicts with mine own inspired utterances, for my presence is wide and my friends stand tall over the land that we suffer thee to live upon.
  10. Thou shalt not covet my money, nor my car, nor my home, nor my position as "legal expert" for the Montgomery Advertiser.

These are the Commandments of Glassroth. Let them provide inspiration for all times and jurisdictions."