Damning Alabamans - August 28, 2003

Times Watch for August 28, 2003

Damning Alabamans

Thursdays editorial, Chief Justice Roy Moores Last Stand, piles on the Alabama chief justice, even after his controversial Ten Commandments monument was rolled out of the state Supreme Court building by a moving crew from Georgia (no Alabama firm would take the job).

The Times compares Moore once again to segregationist Gov. George Wallace: Chief Justice Moore's claim that federal law did not apply to him was a bad imitation of Gov. George Wallace's infamous stand against integration at the University of Alabama in 1963. But this time Alabama's legal establishment came down decisively on the side of the Constitution and the rule of law.

The Times mentions another Alabama legal figure that came down on the right side: William Pryor Jr., also argued for the monument's removal. Some of Chief Justice Moore's supporters charge that Mr. Pryor, who had been a strong defender of the monument, switched sides to curry favor with Senate Democrats in Washington, who have filibustered his nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, the same court that ordered that the monument be removed. Mr. Pryor says that he believes the monument is legal, but that the 11th Circuit's order must be obeyed.

The Times editorial page has viciously opposed the nomination of Pryor to the federal Court of Appeals, citing his extremist beliefs. Now that Pryor has enforced a ruling with which he personally disagrees (taking the air out of such liberal arguments), the Times uses Judge Moores conservative supporters to suggest Pryor cynically switched sides and only enforced the law to curry favor with Democrats. One wonders what Pryor could do to please the Times, short of withdrawing his nomination.

For the rest of the Times editorial on Judge Roy Moore and Attorney General William Pryor, click here.

Alabama | Editorial | Judge Roy Moore | William Pryor | Racism | Religion | Ten Commandments | Gov. George Wallace

School Prayer = Conservative: Gay Rights = Moderate

Charlie LeDuffs Thursday piece on the California recall election, headlined Schwarzenegger Is Pressed for His Views on Social Issues, describes how the actor-candidate handled tough questioning from conservative talk radio hosts Sean Hannity and Larry Elder. Some of Mr. Schwarzenegger's responses to the questioning today, like his support for prayer in school, denying illegal aliens driving privileges and his opposition to gay marriage, are sure to solidify his standing in conservative circles. Many social conservatives in California have expressed misgivings about Mr. Schwarzenegger's more moderate views, particularly on abortion and gay rights. LeDuffs labeling begs the question: If favoring gay rights and abortion are examples of moderate views, then what are liberal ones?

Schwarzeneggers conservative positions (favoring school prayer, opposing gay marriage) are actually well within the political mainstream, even in California. A 1999 Gallup poll showed spoken school prayer favored by a 70%-28% margin nationwide. In 2000, California voters themselves passed Proposition 22, banning recognition of gay marriages, by a 61%-39% margin.

For the rest of Charlie LeDuffs piece on Schwarzeneggers stand on social issues, click here.

California | Charlie LeDuff | Labeling Bias | Recall Vote | Arnold Schwarzenegger