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Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Fight Endures Forever

Bill Barrow at the Mobile Register has a really interesting insider look at the behind the scenes wrangling over Roy Moore's 10 Commandments monument. Both Bob Riley and Terry Butts, a Moore emissary, went on the record in describing an August 2003 meeting about how the governor's office could handle the issue.

This meeting took place several months before the monument was removed, but it reveals the shadow boxing between the two camps. Riley and Butts differ a little on some of the details, but the meeting seemed to revolve around how far Riley was willing to go in order to back Moore's play. Riley says that the Moore side wanted the governor's office to use the Alabama National Guard to protect the monument. Butts says that they simply wanted Riley to issue an executive order indicating that he (Riley) wouldn't allow the removal of the monument.

Either way, both men seem to acknowledge that Riley wasn't willing to risk a potential showdown with the White House. It really is a fascinating look at the inner workings of both the Riley and Moore camps in the months leading to the final confrontation. I recommend you read the entire article.

I am curious why Riley is willing to be so public and candid with the dynamics of his decision making process. By participating in this story Riley is able to get his side of the monument battle out without having to directly engage Moore. Indeed, in this article Riley signals what his likely response to the issue will be:

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

We'll see if Moore and his allies let this story fly under the radar or if they choose to engage the governor and fight the 10 Commandments battle all over again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Riley's claim that he "supported Roy all the way down the line" is simply untrue. If Riley had truly supported Roy Moore, he would never have permitted Bill Pryor, then the Alabama Attorney General, to prosecute Roy Moore before the Court of the Judiciary.

Many have forgotten today that Bill Pryor was part of Chief Justice Moore's legal team in the fight to save the Ten Commandments monument in the federal courts. As such, Bill Pryor had inside information on Judge Moore's legal strategy and other information protected by attorney-client privilege.

Once it was clear the fight for the monument was a lost cause in the federal courts, however, Bill Pryor quickly switched sides and became the lead prosecutor of Judge Moore before the Court of the Judiciary after Judge Moore refused to remove the monument in response to what he regarded as an unlawful order by a federal judge.

After succeeding in getting Judge Moore removed from office, Pryor then added insult to injury by offering his prosecution of Roy Moore as evidence of why liberal U.S. Senators should not hesitate to vote to confirm him for the lifetime appointment as a federal judge that he then received.

If Riley had been a true supporter of Judge Moore, he would have reminded Bill Pryor of the rules of attorney client privilege and the ethical obligation of all attorneys to avoid conflicts of interest and required Pryor to recuse himself from prosecuting Judge Moore because he had previously defended him.

That Riley permitted Pryor to break the code of ethics and presecute Moore is conclusive proof that Riley is not being honest when he claims he supported Roy Moore "all the way down the line."

Riley often says conservative things, but when put to the test -- whether it's the Ten Commandments or taxes -- Riley's actions do not match his words.

8:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The preceding message obviously brought to by the Roy Moore for Governor campaign. What hogwash. Hey "J", we know it's you. By the way, what does that J. stand for?

8:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you can't refute the message, attack the messenger -- isn't that the way, anon #2?

9:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The preceding message obviously brought to by the Roy Moore for Governor campaign. What hogwash.

Moore supporters only wish his campaign would challenge Riley so directly. But they're too nice; don't want any so-called "negative" campaigning.

But even if the Moore campaign had issued the first comment word-for-word in a statement to the media, it wouldn't make the comment untrue.

Mr. Hogwash needs to learn this basic rule of logic and supply facts, not attacks, if he would refute the first comment.

9:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My impression is that Riley wants to promote the public impression of Moore as a "one-issue candidate" by reminding us of Judge Moore during the Ten Commandments fracas, and that he, Riley, is the voice of reason in Alabama. It's a good strategy to use with the moderate voters who were alarmed by Moore's actions.

9:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J., since you're pretending to be 3 different people (you've posted 3 "Anonymous" comments in the 5 minutes), would you please explain the following:

How could a governor prohibit an attorney general from prosecuting someone? This isn't like the federal government, where the AG works for the President. In this state, the AG is a separate constitutional officer. If what you're saying is true (and you know it's not), then anyone prosecuted by the AG's office could say it's the Governor's fault because the Governor "didn't stop the AG."

If what you're saying is true (and again, it's not), then why didn't Roy himself or his attorneys "remind Bill Pryor of the rules of attorney client privilege and the ethical obligation of all attorneys to avoid conflicts of interest and required Pryor to recuse himself from prosecuting Judge Moore because he had previously defended him"?

9:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could a governor prohibit an attorney general from prosecuting someone?

Very easily, under the circumstances. If Riley had told Pryor that given the conflicts of interest he must recuse from prosecuting Moore or otherwise he, Riley, would publicly oppose Pryor's actions and privately hinder his political ambitions (e.g. the federal judicial seat), Pryor would have recused in a heartbeat.

Admittedly, such a step requires leadership, but it's not rocket science.

10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Bill Pryor violated the Code of Ethics, then why didn't Roy file a grievance with the Alabama State Bar?

10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really is disheartening and even kind of scary that some people (like the first anonymous poster) can have so little actual knowledge of the law and government. It makes one wish that we could require voters to provide evidence of an understanding of both our state and federal constitutions prior to exercising the right to vote.

10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

see the mobile paper today where jim main calls terry butts a liar. I believe jim main because roy moore fired terry butts some months ago. I dont think butts ethics fit in with roys. butts is a shady character just like moore which makes the twist even stranger. Butts should be more concerned about his memory and his PSC work with Jan Cook, another monument to truth and ethics.
God, only in alabama do miscreants like terry butts and roy moore get any attention at all.

11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just glad Moore has no chance of winning. He is a true nut!!!!

7:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. theraputic water bed mattress

10:12:00 AM  
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