MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court said Thursday he will not remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building, defying a federal court order to remove the granite monument.
"I have no intention of removing the monument," Roy Moore said at a news conference. "This I cannot and will not do."
Moore said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop any removal. His decision came six days before the Aug. 20 deadline for the 5,300-pound monument to be removed from the building's rotunda, where it is in clear sight of visitors coming in the main entrance.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson of Montgomery, who ruled the monument violates the constitution's ban on government promotion of religion, had said fines of about $5,000 a day would have been imposed against the state if the monument were not removed.
Moore accused Thompson of a "callous disregard for the people of Alabama" and their tax dollars.
In Pennsylvania on Wednesday, a federal appeals court refused to reconsider a ruling that allowed a decades-old Ten Commandments plaque to remain on the facade of a courthouse in suburban Philadelphia.
A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel had ruled in June that the 1920 plaque did not constitute an official endorsement of religion because county commissioners who wanted to keep it were motivated by historic preservation. The full court on Wednesday unanimously refused to reconsider that ruling.