'Yeah, Great--14 Professors'

J$P Instant Transcript and Video! Mark Levin and Eleanor Clift do battle over the Ten Commandments.

From Hannity and Colmes, February 24 2005:

ALAN COLMES [FOX NEWS]: The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week on two controversial 10 Commandments cases. One case involves a large monument on the Texas capital grounds. The other case relates to a wall hosting, alongside secular documents, in a Kentucky courthouse. Joining us now is Mark Levin, the author of the new book, Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America. And Eleanor Clift, contributing editor of Newsweek and Fox News political analyst. Good to have you both with us. Mark, let me begin with you. Why is it important to have a religious display on public property?

MARK LEVIN: Well, if that's what the people want, it's important. I mean, why is there a carving of Moses holding the 10 Commandments in the building called the Supreme Court? We have the Supreme Court of the United States that has a statue carved into the wall of Moses holding the 10 Commandments. Meanwhile, we're running around to these various courthouses trying to figure out how to get rid of the 10 Commandments. That's not what the constitution requires.

COLMES: Well in the Supreme Court you also have Solon, you have a Mohammed, you have a whole bunch of things.

LEVIN: So what?

COLMES: But here's the problem, here's the problem. There are different versions of the 10 Commandments. You have the Protestant version for example, Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me, the Catholic version, I Am the Lord Thy God Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me, the Hebrew version, I Am the Lord Thy God I Brought Thee Out of the House of Egypt. Who decides which version gets put up?

LEVIN: We do, the people and our elected representatives. The constitution doesn't say there's one version, or everything is to be on public property or nothing is to be on public property. We know what the framers intended; it's very clear. They didn't want a Church of England situation where we all had to bow down to the same Church, to the same Church leader, where we all had to pay in to the same Church or be thrown in prison. They didn't want to combine government with an active, single Church. We don't do that, we've never done that. And the 10 Commandments in the public square doesn't do that.

COLMES: You say the people get to decide which one goes up. I didn't get to decide. Nobody asked me.

LEVIN: Yeah, well people--

COLMES: And what if I object?

LEVIN: Too bad.

COLMES: How is that not establishment of religion if one particular version of one religion goes up?

LEVIN: Listen, you don't understand what establishment of religion means. It means more than the superficial, wow there's a nativity scene on public property. That establishes nothing. We're talking about the joining of politics and religion together. That's what the framers were concerned about. Now we have this slippery slope, started by Hugo Black, a Justice in 1947, who really was anti-Catholic. And he had been a member of the Klan. He slipped this language "wall of separation" into a decision in 1947, and I wish you liberals would quit quoting it.

COLMES: You liberals. Thank you for the compliment. Eleanor, look. There are different versions, that's what the problem is. You don't get to decide, I don't get to decide. If someone in government gets to decide, how are you not establishing religion if I'm going to put the Protestant version up?

ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, what's fascinating to me is that the mainstream Protestant Christian denominations are staying out of this. They're not taking a position. The orthodox Jewish community is not taking a position. And I think what you have is soft of the extremists on both sides, left and right, who have an interest in this case.

LEVIN: Yeah, that constitution is extreme.

CLIFT: And the current court is certainly more conservative than the court in 1980, when they took the 10 Commandments displays out of public schools.

LEVIN: No it's not.

CLIFT: So it's very hard for me to think that this Court is going to take away the 10 Commandments.

SEAN HANNITY [FOX NEWS]: All right, let me--

CLIFT: The question is whether they will rule very narrowly on some sort of technicality like they did with the "under God" phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance--

HANNITY: Let me go back to Mark's point. Hang on, Eleanor.

CLIFT: --or whether they will use this opportunity to make a broader statement on the separation of religion and government.

HANNITY: Mark, first of all congratulations. Two weeks in a row, New York Times. You're number three on the list. And you've been number one on Amazon nonfiction. Congratulations. It's a great book. But you made the point in the book and you're just beginning to touch on it here. This issue of a wall of separation is not in the constitution. You talk about the writings in 1947 of Hugo Black, former Klansman, anti-Catholic, and this is now who liberals are quoting as their source of this big separation issue, isn't that true?

LEVIN: That's absolutely true, and then these poor states have to go into court and say, well it's not really religious, it's secular too. And in fact they're right. I mean, not a single one of the 10 Commandments hasn't been codified somehow. And we have ask our liberal friends, what is it about Thou Shall Not Kill, Thou Shall Not Steal? What is it about those phrases that are so terrible that they can't be in an actual courthouse. But the fact of the matter is, for the vast majority of our history, this was not a problem. What's happened is it's been twisted and turned by liberal lawyers, as well as liberal judges.

HANNITY: Well there's more than that.

LEVIN: There's nothing in the constitution that prohibits display of the 10 Commandments.

HANNITY: The Commandments really have been part of our--and either one of you can correct me on this--they've been part of our law, one shape, matter, or form. I mean, our laws sort of reflect their values. And I think in the minds of most Americans, they have a secular as well as a religious meaning here. And how does the constitution prohibit the 10 Commandments from being there? It doesn't.

LEVIN: It doesn't.

CLIFT: If you did your homework on this case, you would observe that there are 14 briefs from University professors--

LEVIN: Who cares?

CLIFT: --going back to see where the 10 Commandments fit as the so-called foundation--

LEVIN: I wrote my own brief. You might want to write it. It's in the book.

CLIFT: --of ideas and beliefs and morals in this country. And it doesn't exist.

LEVIN: Yeah, great. 14 professors, I'm sure they're really--

CLIFT: But I think the court's going to--

LEVIN: Excuse me, 14 professors. You brought up 14 professors. Can you name one of them? What are their names?

CLIFT: Um, I can certainly name your name, and if you would quit yelling I might, Mr Levin--

LEVIN: Did you read the briefs that you're citing? You said there were 14 briefs. Did you read one?

CLIFT: And I didn't read your book. I didn't read your book either, and I'm proud to say that.

LEVIN: I asked you if you read any of the briefs. You brought up the briefs.

CLIFT: I'm not going to answer. I didn't read every brief, but I know that the briefs--

LEVIN: No you haven't read them.

CLIFT: What does that have to do with anything? I know, I know--

LEVIN: Well you cited 14 briefs, like that matters.

CLIFT: I'm saying that these briefs suggest that the 10 Commandments--

LEVIN: You didn't read them.

CLIFT: --did not form the foundation of Western thought. And for the religious community so eager--

LEVIN: Oh geez, that changes my mind.

CLIFT: --to have the 10 Commandments spread everywhere, the rationale for leaving it everywhere is that it's lost all meaning. It's lost the power.

LEVIN: The rationale is this--

COLMES: All right, Eleanor, Mark--

CLIFT: If you're truly religious, if it's truly religious, you would teach the 10 Commandments in your religious community and uphold the sacred quality of it.

LEVIN: OK, thank you, Rabbi.

COLMES: OK, thank you both very much. Thank you for being with us.

QuickTime video clip:

posted: Thu - February 24, 2005 at 10:46 PM       j$p  send