Court vetoes Ten Commandments

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Alabama Supreme Court justices overruled Chief Justice Roy Moore yesterday and ordered that his Ten Commandments monument be removed from its public site in the state's judicial building.

Gorman Houston, a senior associate justice, said the eight associate justices instructed the building's manager to "take all steps necessary to comply ... as soon as practicable." Some supporters of Mr Moore vowed to fight the move through civil disobedience.

A federal judge had ruled that the monument violated the constitutional ban on government establishment of religion and must be removed. He had set yesterday as his deadline, but Mr Moore said he would not comply. The monument was briefly obscured from public view as the District Judge Myron Thompson's deadline passed.

Mr Moore said: "This is an example of what is happening in this country. The acknowledgment of God as the moral foundation of law in this nation is being hidden from us." Richard Cohen, an attorney for a plaintiff, said a motion was filed with Mr Thompson asking that Mr Moore be held in contempt. It was not clear if the associate justices' action would make the motion moot. Mr Thompson had threatened to fine the state $5,000 (£3,167) a day. The US Supreme Court had rejected Mr Moore's plea for a stay of the federal court order on Wednesday afternoon declining, at least for the time being, to be drawn into the dispute.

Mr Moore, who installed the 2,385kg granite monument two years ago in the middle of the night, said he did not consider the case over. (AP)