A federal judge delivered an order yesterday demanding the removal of a 2.5-ton monument to the Ten Commandments on display in the rotunda of Alabama's Supreme Court. US District Court Judge Myron Thompson, backed by a federal appeals court ruling affirming his decision, gave Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore until Aug. 20 to remove the statue. Thompson delivered the order to the associate justices on the state Supreme Court as well as Gov. Bob Riley and Attorney General William Pryor.
Moore has fought for the Ten Commandments monument ever since he had it installed in the rotunda in the middle of the night in 2001. "Judge Thompson is going ballistic and overreaching his authority," Tom Parker, a spokesman for Moore, told the Associated Press. Suggesting that Moore may disregard his order, Thompson told the Boston Globe that "at this time" he did not foresee "an opportunity for any physical confrontation between federal and state officials or between federal officials and anyone else" to enforce the order.
Alabama Attorney General William Pryor has openly supported the placement of the Ten Commandments monument, seeing no violation of the Constitution's separation of church and state. His nomination by President Bush to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is currently being blocked by a Democratic filibuster in the Senate because of Pryor's far-right, extremist views on religion, women's rights, lesbian and gay rights, and reproductive rights.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .