Thursday, December 22, 2005
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Moore wanted Riley to intervene to protect Ten Commandments monument

The Mobile Register fills in some of the details of how state officials reacted to the federal court order for Roy Moore to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the State Judicial Building.

MONTGOMERY -- During the peak of public protests over removal of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore sent an emissary who asked Gov. Bob Riley to call out Alabama National Guard troops to protect the 5,280-pound rock, according to the governor.

"That's where Roy and I parted ways," Riley told the Mobile Register of his chief opponent in the upcoming 2006 Republican primary for governor. ...

Recalling his part in the events, Riley said Moore wanted troops to be posted at the Judicial Building, the idea being that the guardsmen would block federal marshals from removing the monument should [U.S. District Court Judge Myron] Thompson have ordered them to do so.

"[Former Alabama Supreme Court] Justice [Terry] Butts came here one night on Roy's behalf and asked me to call out the Guard," Riley said. "Basically, they wanted us to issue an executive order -- and that doesn't even carry the force of law -- and then have to enforce that order with the National Guard."

Riley added, "The consequences of that would have been severe." He predicted such an action would have forced President Bush to override him, nationalizing the Alabama troops. ...

"We supported Roy all the way down the line, writing briefs and making public statements," Riley said, "but that was just something I was not willing to do."