Supreme Court Snubs Alabama Governor's States' Rights Plea
Alabama Gov. Forrest "Fob" James thinks state governments, not the U.S. Supreme Court, should have the final say on church-state matters. The Supreme Court, however, disagrees.
Without comment June 22, the justices declined to act on an extraordinary plea James filed with the court, arguing that the Constitution allows "the people in each state to make their own laws on issues of religious freedom."
Upset about high court decisions requiring church-state separation in the public schools, James charged in a May 1 filing that the justices have overstepped their bounds.
"It is undoubtedly true," observed the James brief, "that the people of this country have the constitutional fight, if they so choose, to march forthrightly into hell; but they should not be taken there, blindfolded and against their will by the United States Supreme Court."
James' filing with the justices was sparked by a federal district court decision against school-sanctioned prayer and other religious practices in the Alabama public schools. The Chandler v. James lawsuit was brought by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Alabama affiliate of the ACLU. (The case is currently pending before the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.)
Said Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, "Gov. James' appeal to the Supreme Court never had a prayer. It was so bizarre the justices brushed it aside in near record time. The Bill of Rights applies to all levels of government, including the governor's office in Alabama."
Although James has few friends on the high court, he does have admirers in other venues: for example, the Militia of Montana.
The Associated Press reported in May that James' name appeared on a lengthy article in the Feb. 26 issue of The Big Sky Patriot, published in Billings by the Militia of Montana. …