Thursday, November 03, 2005

Judge Dread

Yesterday we took a look at the role of religion and the United States Supreme Court. Today, we’re casting our gaze to the Utah state Supreme Court, where a hearing was held to see if Judge Walter Steed should be removed from his judgeship in the small town of Hildale. Why is the state trying to remove Steed from the bench?

A) He refuses to remove a copy of the Ten Commandments that hangs above his judge’s chambers
B) He acquitted a man accused of spousal abuse by citing Old Testament Biblical passages relating to a husband’s ownership of his wife.
C) He starts each case by reciting “The Lord’s Prayer.”
D) He is accused of molesting five young boys while serving as a Catholic priest in Phoenix 13 years earlier.
E) He has three wives.


E) True to his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints beliefs, he has three wives — all of them biological sisters for that matter. (The “Utah” part of this question should have given this answer away!) Steed’s attorney says that, in spite of Utah’s laws against polygamy, Steed’s plural marriages aren’t “affecting his performance on the bench…[This is] only about his private conduct.” State officials disagree, however, noting that as a judge Steed took an oath to uphold the law — he can’t now pick and choose which laws to follow.


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