Judge Dread

The AP reports:
A judge refused to delay a trial Tuesday when an attorney objected to his wearing a judicial robe with the Ten Commandments embroidered on the front in gold.

Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan showed up Monday at his Covington County courtroom in southern Alabama wearing the robe. Attorneys who try cases at the courthouse said they had not seen him wearing it before. The commandments were described as being big enough to read by anyone near the judge.
If this was the first time Judge McKathan showed up to court in his fancy new robe, I suspect it might have something to do with this. I have a hard time believing it’s a mere coincidence that within a week of the administration, via the Justice Department, pushing to allow a display of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms, a judge just happens shows up with them emblazoned across his front.

Since the election, and the alleged mandate which Rove & Co. attribute to the evangelicals, there has been much discussion as to whether the Bush administration will genuinely pursue a radically socially conservative agenda, or whether they intend to deliver just enough lip service to issues of concern to the religious right to keep them mollified. I suspect the reality lies somewhere in between, and this issue is a good example of the balance the administration is trying to strike. Ten Commandments in courtrooms is a topic that enrages many on the left, but there is a large contingent of moderate Democrats who don’t believe it’s a problem. (Recall that many Democrats voted for gay marriage bans on Nov. 3, too.)

However, there is a significant number of moderate Republicans who do believe it’s a problem. In other words, in the vast middle of the country (both literally and figuratively), you will find people who fall on both sides of the issue in both parties. And it galvanizes the extremes—the Right feels as though they’ve won a major battle and the Left feels as though they’ve lost one. I don’t believe this administration is prepared for how divisive this issue really is.
McKathan told The Associated Press that he believes the Ten Commandments represent the truth "and you can't divorce the law from the truth. ... The Ten Commandments can help a judge know the difference between right and wrong."
Well, clearly not. Or else they wouldn’t be part of a fashion statement in a fucking courtroom.
He said he doesn't believe the commandments on his robe would have an adverse effect on jurors.
I’m frankly amazed that a man so small-minded and self-righteous was even able to achieve a judgeship. It is impossible to understand how a man in his position could doubt the adverse effect such a display might have, such as distracting the jurors from their responsibility in the courtroom. The chance of a fair trial is uncertain at best when an outlandishly dressed judge competes for the attention of those selected to determine a defendant’s fate.
The case raised comparisons to former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was removed from office in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments Monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.

Moore said Tuesday he supports McKathan's decision to wear the Ten Commandments robe.

"I applaud Judge McKathan. It is time for our judiciary to recognize the moral basis of our law," Moore said.
It’s interesting to see this getting turned into a crusade, isn’t it? We went in one story from McKathan saying, “The Ten Commandments can help a judge know the difference between right and wrong,” to Moore equating them with “the moral basis of our law.” The religious right movement in action right before our eyes—personal, guiding morality suddenly redefined as intrinsic societal construction. It’s complete bullshit, and it’s even more majestic than McKathan seems to have intended, but Moore, hero and martyr of the religious right, will repeat it often enough until there is no space for sunlight between his claim and the truth.

What are they putting in the water in Alabama, for fuck’s sake?

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