It appears Chief Justice Roy Moore will appeal the recent ruling requiring the ten commandments monument be removed from the state judicial building. If he does, the legal fees could reach into the millions of dollars.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which represented the plaintiffs in the case, claims the taxpayers will eventually foot that bill. However, Chief Justice Moore is insisting that he will pay for it all himself, even if it means mounting a fundraising campaign. SPLC attorneys say that claim isn't very believable. "That's a bit of a shell game," said Richard Cohen.
It appears that Moore's expenses may not be the only thing the state ends up paying for. Cohen says he's filing a motion that would require the state to also pay the plaintiffs' attorney fees. "In a civil rights case, the defendant must pay the plaintiffs attorney fees and costs if the plaintiff prevails," he says. "We have won and we will submit a petition to Judge Thompson to order the state of Alabama to pay our costs."
So how much has all this cost so far? To date, it's in the thousands. If there's an appeal, "you may be looking at several million dollars," says the SPLC's Morris Dees. "The state of Alabama is too poor to have to bear that burden."
But it's a burden we will bear if the battle over the monument rages on. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta is next in line to hear the case. In the meantime, the chief justice was given until December 18th to remove the monument.
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