Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Nation Under God No More

Judge Declares Pledge Unconstitutional

The Pledge of Allegiance was ruled unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge who granted legal standing to two families represented by an atheist whose previous attempt to get the pledge out of public schools was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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."
Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.

The Supreme Court dismissed the case last year, saying Newdow lacked standing because he did not have custody of his elementary school daughter he sued on behalf of.

Newdow, an attorney and a medical doctor, filed an identical case on behalf of three unnamed parents and their children. Karlton said those families have the right to sue.

Karlton, ruling in Sacramento, said he would sign a restraining order preventing the recitation of the pledge at the Elk Grove Unified, Rio Linda and Elverta Joint Elementary school districts, where the plaintiffs' children attend.

The decision sets up another showdown over the pledge in schools.

The Becket Fund, a religious rights group that is a party to the case, said it would immediately appeal the case to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If the court does not change its precedent, the group would go to the Supreme Court.

"It's a way to get this issue to the Supreme Court for a final decision to be made," said fund attorney Jared Leland.

Newdow, reached at his home, was not immediately prepared to comment.Source

Quick thoughts: Just another reason we need a strict constitutionalist at the Supreme Court. Just another case of leftist legislation from the bench. I'm sure the ACLU will be throwing a party on this one. Now, if only they could get the Koran into the courtroom. I just can't understand why athiests, who are a tiny proportion of the population feel they have to force their beliefs on everyone else. No one is forcing their children to pledge the flag. If they don't believe in God and Country, they can simply tell their children not to pledge the flag, or better yet, let their children make up their own minds on what they believe.

Crossposted at Stop The ACLU