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NousDefionsDoc
03-24-2004, 08:26
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=1&u=/ap/20040324/ap_on_go_su_co/scotus_pledge_of_allegiance

DunbarFC
03-24-2004, 09:21
Tough call

Especially since Scalia recused himself

Here is an interesting poll taken on this issue

Supreme Court takes up Pledge of Allegiance case, new poll shows support for salute (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2004/03/24/supreme_court_takes_up_pledge_of_allegiance_case_n ew_poll_shows_support_for_salute/)

This part doesn't shock me at all

The AP poll, conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs, found college graduates were more likely than those who did not have a college degree to say the phrase "under God" should be removed. Democrats and independents were more likely than Republicans to think the phrase should be taken out.

Sacamuelas
03-24-2004, 09:38
I'll play the bad guy on this one....

My thoughts:
It should never have been put into the pledge of this country in the first place. I personally don't like the religious based phrase in the pledge or on our currency. I say this as someone who goes to church and takes his children to church. It is a separation of church and state issue to me. I strongly favor this protection for our citizens. One can look the Middle East if you need to see examples of the problems that this can create.


That being said, I have no interest in litigating the matter now. It is water under the bridge as far as I am concerned. I just oppose any NEW government actions that murky up the water between separation of church and state.
:munchin

NousDefionsDoc
03-24-2004, 09:44
Where do you live?

DunbarFC
03-24-2004, 09:49
A question for our attorneys -

Does it matter that the girl named in the lawsuit is against what her father is doing and that the girls mother is also against him using their daughter in this manner ?

Surgicalcric
03-24-2004, 09:52
my .02.

I would say so DunbarFC since the basis for the complaint was the daughter.

NousDefionsDoc
03-24-2004, 12:11
I start a SCOTUS thread for the lawyers and not one of them responds?

Solid
03-24-2004, 12:46
Not my own view, but fuel for the fire...

-------------------------
Of God and the Flag

By WILLIAM SAFIRE, Op-Ed Columnist, The Times, March 14th

WASHINGTON — As a very little boy, I thought the opening words to the recitation required at school every morning were "I led the pigeons to the flag." Seemed odd, but I figured the teacher knew best.

In my 20's, I noticed how the rhythm of the assertion of national unity at the conclusion of the Pledge of Allegiance — "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" — was broken into by the insertion by Congress in 1954 of the phrase "under God" between "one nation" and "indivisible." As a geezer today, I sometimes trip over the inserted piety in recitation.

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the argument of an atheist who persuaded the Left Coast Court of Appeals to strike that religious phrase from the pledge recited in public school. Michael Newdow, appearing pro se, without counsel, will urge the court to affirm the decision to which a vast majority of us object.

In my view, the complaining atheist has no "standing" to bring the case in the first place on behalf of the schoolchild. He never married his daughter's mother. She is a self-described "committed Christian" who has been rearing their child and wants her daughter to recite the pledge.

Solicitor General Ted Olson, the most effective constitutional lawyer in the nation, can be expected to start by challenging the father's standing to sue. However, Justice Antonin Scalia, the court's sternest stickler on standing, has disqualified himself because he expressed his opinion prejudging the "under God" phrase in a speech last year. (For proper standards on recusal, read Scalia's persuasive memo on his Cheney nonrecusal at www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/03-475.pdf.)

On wider grounds of the traditional recognition of the deity in American political life, Olson could point to the words "In God We Trust," put on our coins in Lincoln's time. Or the fervent reference to "the Creator" as the source of our rights that Jefferson put in our Declaration of Independence. Or the words opening this morning's session: "God save the United States and this honorable court."

Even George Washington, at the end of taking the oath of office as prescribed in the Constitution, was moved to ad-lib the phrase "So help me God," which has been added by most presidents being inaugurated since. This sort of general public reverence is part of our political culture.

So what's the big deal about "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? President Bush has written that the current pledge is a way of "humbly seeking the wisdom and guidance of divine providence."

John Kerry said on Boston television in 2002 that the Ninth Circuit ruling holding "under God" in the pledge unconstitutional was "half-assed justice . . . the most absurd thing. . . . That's not the establishment of religion." Michael Dukakis vetoed a Massachusetts bill requiring teachers to lead classes in the pledge and paid dearly for it in his presidential campaign. That bill is now law, as are similar statutes in 42 other states. These laws do not conflict with the High Court's 1943 decision that no student can be penalized for declining to take the pledge.

Agreeing with both Bush and Kerry in support of "under God" are majorities in both houses of Congress and attorneys general of all 50 states. From the liberal National Education Association and American Jewish Congress to the conservative American Legion and the Knights of Columbus (which sponsored this addition 50 years ago), under-God-ers have weighed in with briefs. Opposing are the Atheist Law Center, the A.C.L.U., A.D.L. and assorted iconoclasts.

The only thing this time-wasting pest Newdow has going for him is that he's right. Those of us who believe in God don't need to inject our faith into a patriotic affirmation and coerce all schoolchildren into going along. The key word in the pledge is the last one.

The insertion was a mistake then; the trouble is that knocking the words out long afterward, offending the religious majority, would be a slippery-slope mistake now.

The justices shouldn't use the issue of standing to punt, thereby letting this divisive ruckus fester. The solution is for the court to require teachers to inform students they have the added right to remain silent for a couple of seconds while others choose to say "under God."

------------

Airbornelawyer
03-24-2004, 14:23
Originally posted by DunbarFC
A question for our attorneys -

Does it matter that the girl named in the lawsuit is against what her father is doing and that the girls mother is also against him using their daughter in this manner ?
Yes. The legal term is standing. It is actually the first question before the Supreme Court:

"1. Whether respondent has standing to challenge as unconstitutional a public school district policy that requires teachers to lead willing students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance."

The standard requires the plaintiff to prove that "(1) it has suffered an 'injury in fact' that is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and (3) it is likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision." Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 180-81 (2000) (citing Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-561 (1992)). Parents generally are allowed to assert standing on behalf of their children: "Parents have a right to direct the religious upbringing of their children and, on that basis, have standing to protect their right." Doe v. Madison Sch. Dist. No. 321, 177 F.3d 789, 795 (9th Cir. 1999) (en banc).

The Ninth Circuit held that Newdow had standing to sue one of the school districts because his daughter was a student in the school district. The court also held that "Newdow has standing in his own right to challenge the facial constitutionality of the 1954 Act amending the Pledge because 'the mere enactment of a statute may constitute an Establishment Clause violation,' and the 1954 Act amounts to a 'religious recitation policy that interferes with Newdow's right to direct the religious education of his daughter'" (quoting the petition for writ of certiorari).

After that first appeals court ruling, the mother stepped in. Another hearing was held, and the court held that he still had standing. He couldn't sue on his daughter's behalf, but he could still sue on his own behalf. Even though he didn't have custody, he still had some parental rights. Also, the court held that the mother's opposition didn't matter if the law itself was unconstitutional, saying the mother "has no power, even as sole legal custodian, to insist that her child be subjected to unconstitutional state action."

The petition of the United States asserts numerous errors in this analysis, but they are rather detailed. Suffice to say, the issue is whether his more limited rights as a non-custodial parent were injured by the state action and whether the lower court conflated a standing question with a question on the merits ( "The requirement of standing 'focuses on the party seeking to get his complaint before a federal court and not on the issues he wishes to have adjudicated." Valley Forge Christian Coll. v. Americans United for Separation of Church & State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 484 (1982)).

As a rule, the Supreme Court prefers to decide cases in the way which best leaves existing law settled. They will not decide a constitutional question if the dispute can be settled on statutory, procedural or other grounds. If the Court finds that Newdow lacked standing, they may overturn the Ninth Circuit on that and never even address the constitutionality of the pledge itself.

Airbornelawyer
03-24-2004, 15:08
BTW, Sacamuelas, what is all this "separation of church and state" talk? There is no such principle in American constitutional law.

Regarding religion, Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution says this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...." There are two parts to this, commonly referred to as the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause more narrowly prevents Congress from establishing a state church, like the Church of England is. The Free Exercise Clause prohibits Congress from making laws targeting religious expression (laws of general applicability which impact religion, though, may be OK; an example would be health codes that impact Santeria rituals). The First Amendment has been incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to states as well as the federal government .

In the Pledge case, the second question before the Court is this:

"2. Whether a public school district policy that requires teachers to lead willing students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the words "under God," violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as applicable through the Fourteenth Amendment."

So this is an Establishment Clause case. Does having teachers in a public school lead recitations of the Pledge "establish" religion? In the narrow sense, it does not. "Under God" is fairly generic and doesn't represent state sanction of a particular church. The question as it has developed over the past few decades though, is that while it is accepted that the state must remain neutral among different religions, not giving one official sanction over another, is it also required that the state be neutral between religion and irreligion?

Atheist advocacy groups, naturally, maintain that the latter is required, but nothing in the history of the US or the text of the Establishment Clause would seem to require it. In fact, at the time of the adoption of the Amendment, not only were many states not neutral between religion and irreligion, but they had established churches (which would no longer be permitted under the Fourteenth Amendment). And there is a litany of Supreme Court cases holding that while certain sectarian displays might offend the Establishment Clause, the extreme view that any mention of religion by government is unconstitutional is not accepted. These include matters such as the prayer at the opening of congressional and Supreme Court sessions, oaths of office that mention "so help me God" and the "In God We Trust" on currency. There is no wall between church and state in US law.

NousDefionsDoc
03-24-2004, 15:12
Thank you!

DunbarFC
03-24-2004, 15:14
Thank you very much AL for that great explanation !

Sacamuelas
03-24-2004, 15:19
AL- I will have to read your posts thoroughly when I have more time. Thanks for giving such a good overview of these issues. I really appreciate hearing a well educated interpretation of the issues of this case.

My post was a much more simplistic and legally undefined argument than this particular case before the SCOTUS seems to reference after reading your posts.

Solid
03-24-2004, 15:58
Is it important for the state to be religious as opposed to irreligious?

Solid

Sacamuelas
03-24-2004, 16:20
Al-
After rereading you excellent summary of the issues being brought before the SCOTUS, I was attempting to address concerns I have that relate to the establishment clause in the 1st ammendent.

The 9th Circuit court noted , "A profession that we are a nation 'under God' is identical…to a profession that we are a nation 'under Jesus,' a nation 'under Vishnu,' a nation 'under Allah,' or a nation 'under no god,' because none of these professions can be neutral with respect of religion. The coercive effect of this policy is particularly pronounced in the school setting given the age and impressionability of schoolchildren, and their understanding that they are required to adhere to the norms set by their school, their teacher and their fellow students."

In 1954, Congress inserted the phrase "under God" into the Pledge after a lobbying campaign led by the Knights of Columbus. This was during the McCarthy era, and the change was seen as a blow against the "godless communism" in the Soviet Union. Until then Americans used to end the Pledge, "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Americans thought the Pledge was just fine as a patriotic ritual without religious references from 1892-1954. After all, America survived the Great Depression and won two world wars with a secular Pledge, and neither religious devotion nor patriotism suffered. The Pledge was a purely patriotic exercise until Congress in 1954 made it a patriotic and religious exercise.

What is purpose/value of reciting the pledge? If you are like me, it is a patriotic oath that expresses support for our country. If you agree, then why would anyone here have a problem with our public schools using the original version of the pledge? Is there someone here that thinks it is not as patriotic as the currently used version?

NousDefionsDoc
03-24-2004, 16:20
What are laws based on?

Solid
03-24-2004, 16:32
NDD-
I'm assuming that this is what you intended as the answer for your question, if not... I assmed. :D

Governments used to rule using the support of God. The French govt under Louis 14th, an absolutist monarch, is perhaps the best example of this in the West, but I also believe that Allah granted Arab kings and governments their positions.

The US, being a secular state, had people sign their part of the 'social contract' to the nation, not to a god. I believe that the argument for this form of government legitimacy is that previously, non-secular states had not been democracies. Rulers therefore had to provide the people with a reason to support them: religion. However, the US government is elected by the people- it does not seem unreasonable that because of this, US citizens are not ruled by God via their government.

I believe that's the argument, anyway.

Solid

Airbornelawyer
03-24-2004, 16:34
Originally posted by Solid
Is it important for the state to be religious as opposed to irreligious?

Solid As a moral or political judgment, that is a matter of personal opinion.

As a legal judgment, there is a long history of case law supporting the judgment that the state has an interest in acknowledging the divine inspiration of the Founders and for our nation and its institutions.

For example, in Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984), the Supreme Court reasoned that "[t]here is an unbroken history of official acknowledgment by all three branches of government of the role of religion in American life from at least 1789." Id. at 674. A large number of cases have echoed the statement that "[w]e are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being". In a concurrence in another case, Justice O'Connor noted that "government recognition and acknowledgment of the role of religion in the lives of our citizens [serve the] "secular purposes of 'solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society'".

Even a Justice as liberal as William Brennan stated once that "reference to divinity in the revised pledge of allegiance, for example, may merely recognize the historical fact that our Nation was believed to have been founded 'under God.' Thus reciting the pledge may be no more of a religious exercise than the reading aloud of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which contains an allusion to the same historical fact."

Solid
03-24-2004, 16:49
Airborne Lawyer- thank you for those quotes. I may be reading them wrong, and certainly don't have the complete cases, but I don't see them as being a particularly good argument for a non-secular government/pledge.
The unbroken acknowledgement of the role of religion in American life doesn't state or allude to the fact that because religion is part of US life, it should be part of the US govt. or the pledge.
Also, almost all institutions, especially government, presupposed a divine being: it made governing easier (Opiate of the masses is an overstatement, but back in the day it certainly seemed to have helped). Which is coincidentally an interpretation of the effect of religion to 'solemnize public occasions'.
Furthermore, I think that while many adults will realise and therefore be unaffected by the 'historical' statement- "under god", children aren't likely to, which for me smacks (exceedingly lightly) of religious indoctrination and mullahs.

Sorry for the presumptious tone, I am not arguing with you but with the quotes. Again, thank you for posting them and I apologise for my limited ability in debate.

Thank you,

Solid

DanUCSB
03-24-2004, 16:59
Originally posted by Sacamuelas What is purpose/value of reciting the pledge? If you are like me, it is a patriotic oath that expresses support for our country. If you agree, then why would anyone here have a problem with our public schools using the original version of the pledge? Is there someone here that thinks it is not as patriotic as the currently used version?

Exactly. This is the point most folks miss... indeed, it showcases the value of being able to frame the issue. The whole controversey has been framed as 'our values are under attack!' And once that's established, then comes all the hoop-jumping arguments (it's a 'generic' term, it doesn't institute one specific religion, blah), and ad hominem attacks (how can you be against the Pledge?, you're an evil atheist, blah). But it's a straw man. No one's attacking the Pledge of Allegiance as a patriotic exercise. That's what it is/should be. Not a religious one. Yeah, 'God' can be construed as a broad term. But under most usage? It's not. Under most usage, it has a very specific, very narrowly-defined religious meaning. That's why it doesn't belong in the Pledge. Just like the Ninth Circuit (and I'm very aware of its many controversial decisions) said, would you be comfortable if your child recited 'one Nation, under Allah?' or 'one Nation, under the Goddess?', or 'one Nation, under Zeus?'


Americans thought the Pledge was just fine as a patriotic ritual without religious references from 1892-1954. After all, America survived the Great Depression and won two world wars with a secular Pledge, and neither religious devotion nor patriotism suffered.

This, right here, is the crux of it. If you're talking about religion, talk about religion. If you're talking about patriotism (the point of the Pledge), then leave it with patriotism. The original Pledge got us through a lot of trying times. If it was good enough then, it's certainly good enough now.

--Dan, assistant Devil's advocate

Airbornelawyer
03-24-2004, 17:11
Originally posted by Solid
The US, being a secular state, had people sign their part of the 'social contract' to the nation, not to a god. I believe that the argument for this form of government legitimacy is that previously, non-secular states had not been democracies. Rulers therefore had to provide the people with a reason to support them: religion. However, the US government is elected by the people- it does not seem unreasonable that because of this, US citizens are not ruled by God via their government.

I believe that's the argument, anyway.

Solid Giving religion a role in public life is not the same as a theocracy. There is no inconsistency between the social contract and religion. Jefferson argues, in fact, that there is a straight line from God's law to consensual self-government:When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed....I should note that Jefferson himself is the source of the phrase "separation between church and state". In a letter in 1803, he wrote: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; thus building a wall of separation between church and state." Because of this, Jefferson is often cited by groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State. However, if you read more of Jefferson's writings and note his official acts in Virginia, his primary concern was not keeping religion out of public life, but in ensuring that the First Amendment meant what it said, that the federal government shouldn't establish a religion or favor or disfavor certain religions. It is possible Jefferson would have opposed the 1954 law, but no one can know for sure. Based on his own actions as a governor and legislator, it's hard to believe he would be troubled by California's pledge statute, though.

Solid
03-24-2004, 17:30
Airborne Lawyer- thank you again for these quotes. To clarify- I didn't mean that there was a fundemental incompatability between the social contract and religion, just that I didn't think that the US government established its right to rule by claiming holy sanctity.
My point is basically- There are many, many Supreme Beings being worshipped in the US, regardless of the size of their church. As the US government cannot establish a state religion, and cannot thereby make laws or rules under the authority of any one of those religions, the religions essentially rule each other out. Religious diversity, for this argument, equals an utter lack of religion in terms of government.
In this world, can a consensual self-government be established and function?

I believe that the answer is essentially Yes, and therefore that the inclusion of Supreme Beings in the Founding Father's quotes is more of a mark of the contemporary culture than a necessity in the founding of a government. As such, I think that while the modified Pledge isn't going to seriously hurt anyone (unless its used as a precedent for developing something Islam-like), the reference to god really shouldn't appear there. On money, maybe, because kids don't recite what appears on cash, but not in a pledge that is said in homeroom everyday.

Just my .02, I very much enjoy this conversation,

Thank you,

Solid

brownapple
03-24-2004, 17:56
Just curious as to what the source of ethical behavior is for those who argue for secularism?

Solid
03-24-2004, 18:02
Long-since established social ethics which will continue to exist, presumably, in a secular government, and legal boundaries. Where god once regulated the behaviour of the individual, people will now regulate people. The individual will self-regulate through fear of public-perception.

Great question, though. I think that arguing which came first, religion or generally accepted ethics and morals is often like a chicken/egg argument. However, these days it seems that much of the religious approach to ethics and morals has been incorporated into social conduct, and that society could, in the future, act as a surrogate for the moral and ethical effects of religion.

Solid

brownapple
03-24-2004, 19:36
Presumptions are just that. You haven't answered the question, you have made an assumption.

Find me a society, any society, where the ethical code of behavior is not directly linked to religious beliefs.

Solid
03-25-2004, 02:47
My point is not that societies exist where a moral and ethical code was established without religion, it was that now, because these codes have long-since been established, religion is not so much of a factor. Society can regulate itself.

Solid

brownapple
03-25-2004, 02:50
Originally posted by Solid
My point is not that societies exist where a moral and ethical code was established without religion, it was that now, because these codes have long-since been established, religion is not so much of a factor. Society can regulate itself.

Solid

Still an assumption. One that I have yet to see any data to support.

Solid
03-25-2004, 02:59
How about the fact that church attendance (here in England) is at an all-time low, and that crime rates are also at a low? I admit that you don't have to go to church to be religious, but at the same time it does at least partially reflect the fact that morals and ethics can exist without continuous religion.

Also, state schools are forbidden in this country from teaching religion. This, coupled with a general down-turn in the number and size of religious groups would suggest that children are no longer being imprinted with religious morals and ethics. However, as before, crime rates have been decreasing for a long time.

It's difficult to present evidence of this, but theoretically I think that the concept is sound. I suppose that the evidence for this is apparent in every day life. I know I, for one, recieved my morals and ethics from my parents, neither of which are particularly religious. I have now adopted a faith, but managed to exist politely previous to that regardless of the fact that I hadn't read the Bible.

Good conversation. Anyone else going to jump in?

Solid

Roguish Lawyer
03-25-2004, 11:04
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
I start a SCOTUS thread for the lawyers and not one of them responds?

I was out of town. Give me a few.

Roguish Lawyer
03-25-2004, 11:08
Originally posted by Airbornelawyer
BTW, Sacamuelas, what is all this "separation of church and state" talk? There is no such principle in American constitutional law.

Regarding religion, Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution says this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...." There are two parts to this, commonly referred to as the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause more narrowly prevents Congress from establishing a state church, like the Church of England is. The Free Exercise Clause prohibits Congress from making laws targeting religious expression (laws of general applicability which impact religion, though, may be OK; an example would be health codes that impact Santeria rituals). The First Amendment has been incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to states as well as the federal government .

In the Pledge case, the second question before the Court is this:

"2. Whether a public school district policy that requires teachers to lead willing students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the words "under God," violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as applicable through the Fourteenth Amendment."

So this is an Establishment Clause case. Does having teachers in a public school lead recitations of the Pledge "establish" religion? In the narrow sense, it does not. "Under God" is fairly generic and doesn't represent state sanction of a particular church. The question as it has developed over the past few decades though, is that while it is accepted that the state must remain neutral among different religions, not giving one official sanction over another, is it also required that the state be neutral between religion and irreligion?

Atheist advocacy groups, naturally, maintain that the latter is required, but nothing in the history of the US or the text of the Establishment Clause would seem to require it. In fact, at the time of the adoption of the Amendment, not only were many states not neutral between religion and irreligion, but they had established churches (which would no longer be permitted under the Fourteenth Amendment). And there is a litany of Supreme Court cases holding that while certain sectarian displays might offend the Establishment Clause, the extreme view that any mention of religion by government is unconstitutional is not accepted. These include matters such as the prayer at the opening of congressional and Supreme Court sessions, oaths of office that mention "so help me God" and the "In God We Trust" on currency. There is no wall between church and state in US law.

I agree. But give them a break on the "separation of church and state" thing -- that's just an imprecise description of the same thing. Plus, I believe the term is commonly used in briefings on the issue, although I'm not going to run a search to confirm.

[Edit: I now see you later hit on this point a bit with the Jefferson stuff.]

Roguish Lawyer
03-25-2004, 11:14
Originally posted by Greenhat
Find me a society, any society, where the ethical code of behavior is not directly linked to religious beliefs.

Soviet society. But I like your question.

Razor
03-25-2004, 15:30
I don't think GH was asking for a government that based its ethical behavior off non-religious sources; he asked for an example of a society. Although the Soviet government was areligious, I believe you'd be kidding yourself to think that the Soviet people did not have and practice a wide variety of faiths, and that their code of ethics weren't based upon those faiths.

DunbarFC
03-25-2004, 15:40
On a related subject Newdow had a loss today in one of this other suits


Judge dismisses chaplain lawsuit filed by pledge challenger (http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/the_valley/8275614.htm)



You can read the decision here http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/02-1704.pdf

Roguish Lawyer
03-25-2004, 15:55
Originally posted by Razor
Although the Soviet government was areligious, I believe you'd be kidding yourself to think that the Soviet people did not have and practice a wide variety of faiths, and that their code of ethics weren't based upon those faiths.

There certainly were religious people in the Soviet Union, but many atheists too. Don't know if they reached a majority or not, but I suspect they may have.

I imagine that AL will be along shortly with precise facts. :)

Sacamuelas
03-25-2004, 15:57
I think GH's point about society's basis for ethical behavior is irrelevant in a debate about a government sponsored/state public school instituting a policy of pledge reciting that contains a religious reference.

If you guys are really going to argue that "under God” doesn’t mean/infer God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost then you missed your calling as a lawyer representing our last POTUS. Your appreciation and fondness for the nuances and ambiguity that exists in our language is far more developed than mine...and I view that tactic as simply avoiding the real issue.

“ I did not have sexual relations with that woman” … well, I didn’t consider it a relationship, and I didn’t cause her reciprocal pleasure so I feel I did not lie….yadda yadda yadda…”

You guys are arguing the same way as slick willie used to...
:munchin

brownapple
03-25-2004, 18:49
Originally posted by Roguish Lawyer
Soviet society. But I like your question.

Communism is a religious belief. A twisted one, but one nevertheless.

brownapple
03-25-2004, 18:51
Originally posted by Sacamuelas
I think GH's point about society's basis for ethical behavior is irrelevant in a debate about a government sponsored/state public school instituting a policy of pledge reciting that contains a religious reference.

Governments reflect society. When they fail to do so, they fall.

My point is only irrelevant if you are willing to watch the United States disintegrate.

Solid
03-25-2004, 18:53
GH- How do you figure? [edit- re your comment on communism]

Solid

Airbornelawyer
03-25-2004, 21:01
Originally posted by Sacamuelas
I think GH's point about society's basis for ethical behavior is irrelevant in a debate about a government sponsored/state public school instituting a policy of pledge reciting that contains a religious reference.

If you guys are really going to argue that "under God” doesn’t mean/infer God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost then you missed your calling as a lawyer representing our last POTUS. Your appreciation and fondness for the nuances and ambiguity that exists in our language is far more developed than mine...and I view that tactic as simply avoiding the real issue.

“ I did not have sexual relations with that woman” … well, I didn’t consider it a relationship, and I didn’t cause her reciprocal pleasure so I feel I did not lie….yadda yadda yadda…”

You guys are arguing the same way as slick willie used to...
:munchin
You have your own particular interpretation of the Establishment Clause and the pledge, and when someone disagrees with you interpretation, you resort to insult and impugning integrity. If you are not just being facetious, I can think of a few unnuanced and unambiguous responses, but I won't bother.

Given that the author of the original pledge, in one of life's little ironies, was a socialist, it is not surprising that "under God" wasn't in there from the beginning. The phrase was added to the pledge specifically in response to the threat of Communism. As the legislative history notes, "[a]t this moment of our history the principles underlying our American Government and the American way of life are under attack by a system whose philosophy is at direct odds with our own. Our American Government is founded on the concept of the individuality and the dignity of the human being. Underlying this concept is the belief that the human person is important because he was created by God and endowed by Him with certain inalienable rights which no civil authority may usurp. The inclusion of God in our pledge therefore would further acknowledge the dependence of our people and our Government upon the moral directions of the Creator. At the same time it would serve to deny the atheistic and materialistic concepts of communism with its attendant subservience of the individual. " Agree or disagree with the value of this argument - I frankly don't care - but was not part of an effort to establish the Trinity, and was in fact supported by Jewish groups, among others. Contemporaneous efforts to amend the Constitution to acknowledge "the authority and law of Jesus Christ" failed.

And the concept didn't just spring up in some fit of 1950s religious fervor. The views expressed in the Declaration of Independence have already been noted. The phrasing of "one nation, under God," though, owes its origin to these words: "...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." And the motto, "In God we trust," also legislated in the 1950s, comes from "And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'" from the Star-Spangled Banner, written in 1814 and made the National Anthem in 1931.

BTW, you may think the Trinity when you hear "under God", but that is your nuance. Among others, the National Jewish Coalition on Law and Political Affairs and the American Jewish Congress, both of whom have filed briefs amicus curiae in opposition to Newdow, apparently have differing views.

And turning to trivia, who can identify the public figures who dared breach the wall of separation of church and state and risk putting us on the slippery slope to theocracy with these words?

1. And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.2.With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.3. Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest. 4. As I listened to those songs, in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs, on many a weary march from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle-deep through the mire of shell-shocked roads, to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God. I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory.5. Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.

This nation has placed its destiny in the hands, heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.

To that high concept there can be no end save victory.6.The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God. 7. Something else helped the men of D-day; their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we're about to do. Also, that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

Sacamuelas
03-25-2004, 21:53
GreenHat-
I did not intend to insult or belittle you. If you interpreted my post that way, I apologize. That was not my intention.

AL-
Actually, when I hear "under god" I do not personally think of the father, son and holy ghost. I typed that to refer to what I considered to be the majority of Society's view. It was a generalization, a poor one I admit, as it seems to have altered your understanding of my intention.

As to your pointing out that the author was a socialist, what does that have to do with this argument? He was a Baptist minister too, wasn't he? To me, it is intriquing that he did not include any of his personal religious beliefs or phrases into this pledge when he wrote it. Maybe, just maybe, he realized that religious references in a pledge of allegiance to our country should not be included as we value freedom and liberty to those of all faiths and/or lack thereof. It was meant to be patriotic...

Yes, I am almost always sarcastic and I think anyone of average intelligence or above knows that I was not being literal in my suggestion that "you guys" should have been a lawyer for Bill Clinton. I am glad to see you picked up on my attempted humor.

I don't see where I attacked Greenhat personally? Where exactly did you read that? I debated his statement's appropriateness to this discussion. Hell, if anything, you might not want to throw the first stone. You attacked me concerning legal technicalities so specific that you ended up citing cases and explaining the intricacies of the law to EVERYONE on this board so we could understand where you were coming from. Trust me, we are all impressed by your knowledge concerning the law, but I think it is safe to assume that you knew what I was referring to in my post before you went into dissertation concerning the finer issues of Con law. Please reread my post, I posed my sarcastic comments to "you guys" not AT GH or anyone specifically.

Anyway, since you have given the reasons the "under god" was placed into the pledge in the first place... why not change it back based on our current society? Or do you think we should still fear the "atheistic communism" as our #1 enemy?
By AL
As the legislative history notes, "[a]t this moment of our history the principles underlying our American Government and the American way of life are under attack by a system whose philosophy is at direct odds with our own. Our American Government is founded on the concept of the individuality and the dignity of the human being. Underlying this concept is the belief that the human person is important because he was created by God and endowed by Him with certain inalienable rights which no civil authority may usurp. The inclusion of God in our pledge therefore would further acknowledge the dependence of our people and our Government upon the moral directions of the Creator. At the same time it would serve to deny the atheistic and materialistic concepts of communism with its attendant subservience of the individual. "


Well, if anything, our country's main national security threat in year 2004 is derived from radical religious indoctrinated regimes that support terrorism and terrorists organizations while creating anti-American hatred in the name of their "GOD". Since you support the 1950's reasoning for a change in the pledge, shouldn't congress be enacting anti religion pledges right now if the idea of changing our liberties based on assumed threats from other countries is such a valid concept? :munchin

brownapple
03-25-2004, 23:11
Originally posted by Solid
GH- How do you figure? [edit- re your comment on communism]

Solid

Communism is a belief of faith. It requires a belief in something ("to each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities") that is demonstrated to not work and be counter to human nature. And people will continue to believe in it regardless of the evidence to the contrary.

Valhal
03-26-2004, 10:12
Is it the purpose of a democracy to protect the least common denominator, or is it to govern within the auspices of majority opinion?

I do not have a fact book in front of me, but I would posit that the majority of American citizens do believe in a higher power.

It is also an uneducated opinion of mine that what is so great about America is that like minded people can congregate into communities and are free to live within their faith. They have freedom of religion.

I believe that if the majority of a community believe in the same religious tenets, that community should be free to have a monument of the Ten Commandments on display. If it offends, one is free to seek out many other cities within the US that have similar views as themselves.

Lastly I feel the fabric of our American tapestry should remain unfranchised.

Mark

Airbornelawyer
03-26-2004, 10:18
Originally posted by Sacamuelas
Well, if anything, our country's main national security threat in year 2004 is derived from radical religious indoctrinated regimes that support terrorism and terrorists organizations while creating anti-American hatred in the name of their "GOD". Since you support the 1950's reasoning for a change in the pledge, shouldn't congress be enacting anti religion pledges right now if the idea of changing our liberties based on assumed threats from other countries is such a valid concept? :munchin
Forget the legal, historical and moral issues for a second and consider your question from a tactical or pragmatic standpoint. Do you think it is tactically sound or wise, when we are engaged in a war with a group of people claiming God is on their side, to make a big public effort to remove references to God from the public space?

Sacamuelas
03-26-2004, 11:28
Originally posted by Valhal
I believe that if the majority of a community believe in the same religious tenets, that community should be free to have a monument of the Ten Commandments on display. If it offends, one is free to seek out many other cities within the US that have similar views as themselves.

I don't agree. This is the United States of America.... we all live under the same basic rights to freedom and liberty. IMO, that judge in AL got what he deserved.


Originally posted by Valhal
Is it the purpose of a democracy to protect the least common denominator, or is it to govern within the auspices of majority opinion?...I believe that if the majority of a community believe in the same religious tenets, that community should be free to have a monument of the Ten Commandments on display. If it offends, one is free to seek out many other cities within the US that have similar views as themselves.

Do you believe the majority opinion should always prevail? If so, you might want to consider what that would have historically meant for civil rights, women's rights, social programs, and the recently the war in Iraq (depending on when you take the poll to determine our national stance on life/death issues). I am glad that the republican right wingers can't get EVERYTHING that they would want to pass. Same goes for the libs.

What about a hypothetical city being formed somewhere in montana by a numerical majoirty of disenfranchised Shiite Islam US citizens from Alabama. Should they be allowed to create a legal system based on islamic law since the majority support it? Or should they be forced to respect ALL citizens basic rights and freedoms guaranteed in the constitution? What if they wanted to make the public school system pledge allegiance to allah every morning? Now consider your kid going to this school. He may be a methodist (just an example) and feels VERY uncomfortable getting up and leaving the classroom every morning while the other 95% of Islamic kids make fun of him for being different. You get pissed because you have just happened to live in the area for the last 100 years yet you are now the minority view. Should you have to just "leave" to find your own kind?

IMO, the purpose is to provide the same basic rights/protections for ALL the citizens in their quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You said it best.
]Originally posted by Valhal
It is also an uneducated opinion of mine that what is so great about America is that like minded people can congregate into communities and are free to live within their faith. They have freedom of religion. [/b]
:munchin

brownapple
03-26-2004, 11:38
Originally posted by Sacamuelas
women's rights[/B]

Women are the majority. Missed that, huh?

Sacamuelas
03-26-2004, 11:53
Originally posted by Airbornelawyer
Forget the legal, historical and moral issues for a second and consider your question from a tactical or pragmatic standpoint. Do you think it is tactically sound or wise, when we are engaged in a war with a group of people claiming God is on their side, to make a big public effort to remove references to God from the public space?

Tactically, I don't think changing our pledge will affect our current and future CT operations one bit. Name the country that would change its position/support to be against us because of this change. Name the country that would instantly join/support us if we resisted this change and kept "under god" in our pledge. FWIW, Tactically I don't think the TS,NDD, and their SF compadres would have to change any plans, TTP on how to kick in that door and drag Osama out kicking and screaming.

I think that the US position that ALL religious preferences are strictly protected and free from persecution or infringement by our government makes our moral stand in the opinion more stabile. We defend all our citizens rights to worship/or not worship.

Anyway, I really doubt this is a blip on the radar screen strategically in the WOT. It is a little late to worry about radical islmaist public perception... it is a war now. Nothing we do or don't do on this pledge issue will change their views.

What do you guys think this pledge change would do tactically or strategically in the WOT?

Sacamuelas
03-26-2004, 12:20
Originally posted by Greenhat
Women are the majority. Missed that, huh?

At the time, women had exactly ZERO votes to legally enact their freedom to vote ammendment right? Overlooked that little fact huh?

Let's look at the 19th amendment's creation.

Article [XIX].
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Proposal and Ratification

The nineteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States by the Sixty-sixth Congress, on the 4th of June, 1919, and was declared, in a proclamation of the Secretary of State, dated the 26th of August, 1920, to have been ratified by the legislatures of 36 of the 48 States. The dates of ratification were: Illinois, June 10, 1919 (and that State readopted its resolution of ratification June 17, 1919); Michigan, June 10, 1919; Wisconsin, June 10, 1919; Kansas, June 16, 1919; New York, June 16, 1919; Ohio, June 16, 1919; Pennsylvania, June 24, 1919; Massachusetts, June 25, 1919; Texas, June 28, 1919; Iowa, July 2, 1919; Missouri, July 3, 1919; Arkansas, July 28, 1919; Montana, August 2, 1919; Nebraska, August 2, 1919; Minnesota, September 8, 1919; New Hampshire, September 10, 1919; Utah, October 2, 1919; California, November 1, 1919; Maine, November 5, 1919; North Dakota, December 1, 1919; South Dakota, December 4, 1919; Colorado, December 15, 1919; Kentucky, January 6, 1920; Rhode Island, January 6, 1920; Oregon, January 13, 1920; Indiana, January 16, 1920; Wyoming, January 27, 1920; Nevada, February 7, 1920; New Jersey, February 9, 1920; Idaho, February 11, 1920; Arizona, February 12, 1920; New Mexico, February 21, 1920; Oklahoma, February 28, 1920; West Virginia, March 10, 1920; Washington, March 22, 1920; Tennessee, August 18, 1920.

Ratification was completed on August 18, 1920.

The amendment was subsequently ratified by Connecticut on September 14, 1920 (and that State reaffirmed on September 21, 1920); Vermont, February 8, 1921; Delaware, March 6, 1923 (after having rejected it on June 2, 1920); Maryland, March 29, 1941 (after having rejected it on February 24, 1920, ratification certified on February 25, 1958); Virginia, February 21, 1952 (after having rejected it on February 12, 1920); Alabama, September 8, 1953 (after having rejected it on September 22, 1919); Florida, May 13, 1969; South Carolina, July 1, 1969 (after having rejected it on January 28, 1920, ratification certified on August 22, 1973); Georgia, February 20, 1970 (after having rejected it on July 24, 1919); Louisiana, June 11, 1970 (after having rejected it on July 1, 1920); North Carolina, May 6, 1971; Mississippi, March 22, 1984 (after having rejected it on March 29, 1920). [/i]

So, is there argument that these states listed at the end, should not have been forced to allow women to vote since the majority in those particular states rejected the amendment? After all, I guess all the women could have just taken their kids and moved to Illinois right? :munchin

brownapple
03-26-2004, 12:45
Women were still the majority, and are today as well. The votes of the minority made the decision on whether they received the right to vote or not, as did the votes of a variety of people who do not represent the people, but rather the States or the US as a whole.

The rights of the minority are sufficiently protected by the fact that the United States is not a democracy, but rather is a representative republic. Your example may be an attempt to be sarcastic, but should the population of a state migrate because of the state's policies, the state will change its policies or live with the smaller group that agrees with the policies. Massachusetts comes to mind.

It is NOT NECESSARY for the federal government to stick its nose in everywhere and anywhere in order for the people to maintain their god-given rights (a basic premise of the concept of rights that leaves atheists with a problem... if there is no god, who gives them inalienable rights?), as a matter of fact, it is generally counter-productive.

Roguish Lawyer
03-26-2004, 12:49
Originally posted by Greenhat
god-given rights (a basic premise of the concept of rights that leaves atheists with a problem... if there is no god, who gives them inalienable rights?)

The argument is that the rights are found in nature, whether or not there is a god.

brownapple
03-26-2004, 20:04
Originally posted by Roguish Lawyer
The argument is that the rights are found in nature, whether or not there is a god.

Guess the Soviet Union and China didn't believe in nature.

NousDefionsDoc
03-26-2004, 20:41
And we...I mean they don't worship Marx, Lenin and Mao as deities.

Sacamuelas
03-26-2004, 21:18
LOL!!!! That was hilarious NDD...made my night. :D hahaha

Valhal
03-27-2004, 10:16
A year or two ago some rights guy from Chicago came to Boise and tried to force us to take a large cross down from one of our foothills.

That didn't go over to well here.

The cross is still here and he will likely be martyred if he shows his face around here again.

BTW Allah is Arabic for God, Jehovah, Yahweh....etc

I think States and communities within should have some leeway in regards to how they wish to exist. Within reason.

The Amish in Penn, the Mormons in Utah for example, and yes Shiites in Montana though I think that is a funny proposition. Have you ever been to Montana? LOL

I have more to say but my 16 month old son is telling me its play time.

Mark

Roguish Lawyer
06-14-2004, 22:53
I thought someone else would have posted this by now, but . . .

http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/06/14/scotus.pledge/index.html

Court dismisses Pledge case
Atheist father cannot sue over use of 'Under God'
Monday, June 14, 2004 Posted: 11:11 PM EDT (0311 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a California father could not challenge the Pledge of Allegiance, a decision that sidestepped the broader question of the separation of church and state.

The 8-0 ruling by the high court reversed a lower-court decision that teacher-led recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional.

The case had been brought by an atheist who did not want his third-grade daughter to have to listen to the phrase "under God" in the oath.

In a written statement, Attorney General John Ashcroft praised the ruling saying it "ensures that school children in every corner of America can start their day by voluntarily reciting the Pledge of Allegiance."

Five justices -- led by Justice John Paul Stevens -- said Michael Newdow, the father, did not have the legal standing to bring the case. Newdow, who is involved in a custody dispute with the mother of their third-grade daughter, could not speak for the girl, the court ruled.

"When hard questions of domestic relations are sure to affect the outcome, a prudent course is for the federal court to stay its hand rather than reach out to resolve a weighty question of federal constitutional law," wrote Justice John Paul Stevens.

In separate, concurring opinions, Chief Justice William Rehnquist and justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas argued the court should have addressed the constitutional issue.

The justices said that the pledge does not violate the First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment of religion by the government.

"To give the parent of such a child a sort of 'heckler's veto' over a patriotic ceremony willingly participated in by other students, simply because the Pledge of Allegiance contains the descriptive phrase 'under God,' is an unwarranted extension of the establishment clause, an extension which would have the unfortunate effect of prohibiting a commendable patriotic observance," Rehnquist wrote.

At Newdow's request, Justice Antonin Scalia recused himself after he had made remarks in a speech critical of the case.

The ruling -- delivered on Flag Day -- means that the full Pledge of Allegiance will continue to be recited in the nation's public schools.

Newdow, who has medical and legal degrees, argued his own case before the high-court justices in March. (March arguments before Supreme Court)

Newdow never married the mother of the child and the two are in a battle over his parental rights.

The mother, Sandra Banning, has said she has no problem with her daughter reciting the full pledge and argued that Newdow had no right to bring the case.

Constitutional scholars have long debated whether the Pledge serves as a prayer in addition to a patriotic oath.

Newdow sued the Elk Grove Unified School District in Sacramento County, California, which his daughter attended, claiming public recitation by students violated her religious liberty. While legal precedent makes reciting the pledge voluntary, Newdow said it becomes unconstitutional when students are forced to hear it. He argued that the teacher-led recitations carry the stamp of government approval.

Labeling the Pledge of Allegiance a "unifying patriotic exercise," district Superintendent Dave Gordon expressed delighted with the ruling.

"We're grateful that our students and students throughout the country will continue to be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the words 'under God,' as has been the law of our land for 50 years," he said.

Gordon expressed disappointment that the court did not rule on the constitutionality of the pledge.

Newdow had declared that his daughter would be singled out if she chose not to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and would be coerced to participate.

"Imagine you're a third-grader in a class of 30 kids. That's enormous pressure to put on a child," he said. "Government needs to stay out of the religion business altogether."

To give the parent of such a child a sort of 'heckler's veto' over a patriotic ceremony willingly participated in by other students & is an unwarranted extension of the establishment clause.
-- Chief Justice William Rehnquist

The Bush administration opposed the ban, and Solicitor General Theodore Olson told the justices the pledge is simply a "ceremonial, patriotic exercise."

In June 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals drew sharply divided public opinion when it banned the teacher-led pledge for the nearly 10 million schoolchildren in the nine Western states under its jurisdiction.

In striking down the pledge, the judges ruled "the coercive effect of the policy here is particularly pronounced in the school setting given the age and impressionability of schoolchildren."

But the ban was put on hold until the high court issues a final ruling.

On Monday's Supreme Court decision, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the court "ducked this constitutional issue today," and that students "should not feel compelled by school officials to subscribe to a particular religious belief in order to show love of country," according to a report from The Associated Press.

On the other side, the American Center for Law and Justice said the ruling removes a cloud from the pledge.

"While the court did not address the merits of the case, it is clear that the Pledge of Allegiance and the words 'under God' can continue to be recited by students across America," said Jay Sekulow, the group's chief counsel, in an AP report.

The pledge was written in 1892 by Baptist minister and educator Francis Bellamy, who made no reference to religion in his version. It was originally worded: "I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." It quickly became a part of public school programs.

In 1954, Congress added the words "under God," after pressure by the Knights of Columbus and other groups. Another modification was to change "my flag" to "the flag of the United States of America."

The case is Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, case no. 02-1624.

Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears contributed to this report.

Airbornelawyer
06-16-2004, 11:01
When I saw that they had granted cert on both the constitutional question and the standing question, I pretty much knew this would be the outcome. There are plenty of people on either side who are unhappy that the Court didn't rule on the constitutional question, but they are either misguided or intolerant of the democratic process to think that this can only be resolved by the judicial process (certainly with many liberals today the desire to short-circuit the democratic process through litigation is the major factor). What is surprising is that the liberal justices most open to a broad interpretation of the standing requirement voted the way they did. My guess is there was a 4-4 split on the constitutional question, so the liberal wing formed a 5-vote majority with Justice Kennedy on the standing question to put off the fight for another day.