Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rock redux

Today's Birmingham News follows up on Wednesday's Mobile Register account of the talks between Gov. Bob Riley and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's lawyer in the days before Moore's granite friend was removed from the state judicial building by federal court order in 2003.

Riley spoke Wednesday on the reasons he wisely decided not to call out National Guardsmen to protect the monument: "Every scenario has a negative outcome. If the National Guard is there and federal marshals come to remove the monument, how far do you tell them to go? Do you restrain them? Do you fire on them?"

As for Moore, he twice told The News that he never urged Riley to call out the Guard to defend his rock, which is true in the literal sense that he never personally did so. (A spokesman emphasized that Moore "never directly encouraged the use of troops.") Moore's lawyer, meanwhile, told the governor that "calling out the National Guard to protect the monument would be the logical way for Riley to enforce his order" and that anything else would render an executive order "meaningless," according to The News.

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