What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Separation of Church & State : H.R. 2799. Fiscal 2004 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations/Vote to Prevent the Justice Department From Enforcing the Separation of Powers Between the Church and State in the Alabama Case Involving the Placement of a Monument of the Ten Commandments in the State's Supreme Court Building. (2003 house Roll Call 419)
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H.R. 2799. Fiscal 2004 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations/Vote to Prevent the Justice Department From Enforcing the Separation of Powers Between the Church and State in the Alabama Case Involving the Placement of a Monument of the Ten Commandments in the State's Supreme Court Building.
house Roll Call 419     Jul 23, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In a clash between religious principles and constitutional law, Roy Moore, Chief Justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, refused a court order issued by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson in 2002 to hide from public view a monument of the Ten Commandments which had been prominently displayed in Alabama's state supreme court building since 2001 (Moore has since been removed from his judicial duties). In the view of Progressives, the monument violated the Constitution's ban on the government's endorsement of a particular religious doctrine. During debate on the 2004 Commerce, Justice, and State appropriations bill, Congressman Hostettler (R-IN) proposed an amendment to block the Justice Department from enforcing the ruling which required the removal of the 5,280-pound monument from Alabama's supreme court building. Progressives voted against the Hostettler amendment because, in their view, the monument of the Ten Commandments violated the constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state. Despite their objections, the Hostettler amendment was adopted by the House on a 260-161 vote. The Senate, however, failed to adopt similar language and the Hostettler amendment therefore failed to become law.

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