15 years ago today, the Ten Commandments monument fight took center stage in Alabama

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August 21, 2003

Alabama’s top judge, Chief Justice Roy Moore, was embroiled in a very public dispute over a Ten Commandments monument in the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building. Two years earlier, Moore had placed in the state judicial building a 5,280-pound granite block monument, which was covered with quotes from the Declaration of Independence, the national anthem and various Founding Fathers, with the Ten Commandments resting on top. Months later, several groups filed suit for the monument to be removed.

In 2002, a federal judge ruled the monument must be removed but Moore refused. The ruling was upheld on appeal. On Aug. 21, 2003, the other eight justices on the Alabama Supreme Court voted to remove the monument. Moore that November was removed from his position as chief justice for defying the court order to remove the monument, but would return to political office years later.

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