Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Pledge of Allegiance Ruled Unconstitutional
I did a double take on reading an AP report that U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton in San Francisco 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." Bully for him but not the end of the story.
It is noteworthy that addition of the words "under God" after "one nation." did not take place until Flag Day 1954. The original pledge made no mention of God.
On June 14, 2004, in a 8-0 decision the Supreme Court had reversed a lower court ruling that recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance led by teachers in public schools was unconstitutional.The Court ruled that Michael Newdow, who brought the case before the court had no legal right to file the lawsuit. The Court, however, stayed away from the broader question of separation of church and state.
Now the issue is certain to land back before the justices. The make up of the Supreme Court, when it opens in October, will be different---not radically different until a replacement for Justice O'Connor is confirmed but different. Assuming that Judge Roberts will fill the late Chief Justice Rehnquist's place, one can sense the direction the court will take.
When Americans look back on our born again Christian president's legacy, his influence in politicization of the Supreme Court and appointment of agenda driven justices throughout the judicial system are likely to stand out. I shall not be surprised if the president's handlers add a reference to this in the speech he is going to give tomorrow. He needs some polarizing issues to latch onto in an effort to recover lost ground.
Our country is going through religious fervor of the worst kind; bigotry has become respectable. We can expect the San Francisco District Court's decision to be overruled.
Whether one believes in God or not- the facts show that we're not one Nation under God.