September 14, 2005

One judge declares Pledge unconstitutional

"U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be 'free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.' The judge has granted legal standing to two families represented by an atheist who lost his previous battle before the U.S. Supreme Court."

One. Judge.

I'm no lawyer, but back in 1942, the SCOTUS ruled in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that students were not required to say the Pledge at all. It seems to me the judge merely wants to make a "statement." Which certainly isn't surprising.

I recently caught David Boies, attorney for the Gore camp in the 2000 election debacle, saying that he believes the case will ultimately fail as it makes its way up the appellate ladder.

Here's one thing I don't get from the article:

Karlton dismissed claims that the 1954 Congressional legislation inserting the words "under God" was unconstitutional. If his ruling stands, he reasoned that the school children and their parents in the case would not be harmed by the phrase because they would no longer have to recite it at school.

Huh? Isn't that a contradiction?

UPDATE: Xrlq, always a must read on matters like this, has more.

Posted by Hube at September 14, 2005 05:20 PM | TrackBack

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From ...

A federal judge in California has ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional because the pledge’s reference to “under God” violates school children’s right to be “free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.”

OK, it's California, where a guy with a petition to repeal the suffrage of hamsters could get 10,000 signatures in 30 minutes. It's ironic that ours is a nation where burning the flag is defended as free speech, but kids saying "under God" should be gagged. But really, is this the most pressing issue before a nation at war, a nation rabbit-punched by a hurricane, and a nation with a big al Qaeda target painted on its back?

On one hand, if God intended to reward us for including him in our daily affirmations before class, He might go a little easier on the hurricanes. I mean, don't you think that admitting we're "one nation under God" should invite some tender mercies?

On the other hand, maybe He doesn't care what we force schoolkids to say out loud, and is more interested in how we conduct ourselves when nobody else is looking.

Who knows? The Lord hasn't really been keeping up his blog, so we're not sure what He's thinking. But I can tell you what I'm thinking: These attention-starved atheists are starting to be as annoying as megawatt televangelists.

Posted by: Ron Franscell at September 14, 2005 06:21 PM

More to the point, he relies on the Ninth Circuit's opinion in Newdow -- a case which was ultimately dismissed due to the palintiff's lack of standing. That dismissal should, as i understand it, undo any precedent value the Ninth Circuit's opinion might have had.

So tell me -- how does this guy get off claiming that the Newdow decision is binding?

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at September 14, 2005 06:44 PM

He claims a distinction between a lack of Article III standing, which he concedes has the effect of vacating the caes, and "prudential" standing, which allegedly doesn't. I haven't had the time to read the cases he's relying on, so I can't say for certain that he's wrong - even though that's exactly what I did in my post. If he is right (which I doubt), then surely his ruling is equally flawed on the issues where it differs from the 2002 case; either he's bound by that ruling or he isn't.

Posted by: Xrlq at September 14, 2005 10:00 PM

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