|06-15-2004, 03:08 AM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Court Allows 'Under God' on Technicality
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday allowed millions of schoolchildren to keep affirming loyalty to one nation "under God" but dodged the underlying question of whether the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional blending of church and state.
The ruling overturned a lower court decision that the religious reference made the pledge unconstitutional in public schools. But the decision did so on technical grounds, ruling the man who brought the case on behalf of his 10-year-old daughter could not legally represent her.
It was an anticlimactic end to an emotional high court showdown over God in the public schools and in public life. It also neutralizes what might have been a potent election-year political issue in which the Bush administration argued strongly that the reference to God should remain part of the pledge.
The outcome does not prevent a future court challenge over the same issue, however, and both defenders and opponents of the current wording predicted that fight will come quickly.
For now, five justices said the court could not rule on the case because California atheist Michael Newdow does not have full custody of his daughter.
"When hard questions of domestic relations are sure to affect the outcome, the prudent course is for the federal court to stay its hand rather than reach out to resolve a weighty question of federal constitutional law," Justice John Paul Stevens (news - web sites) wrote for the majority.
Newdow, who has fought a protracted custody battle with the girl's mother, was angered by the decision and the basis for it.
"She spends 10 days a month with me," he said. "The suggestion that I don't have sufficient custody is just incredible."
Three other justices went along with the outcome, but seemed to accuse the majority of using Newdow's legal standing as a fig leaf to avoid the harder constitutional issue. The three, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor (news - web sites) and Clarence Thomas (news - web sites), made clear that they would have upheld the religious reference.
The court's ninth justice, Antonin Scalia (news - web sites), removed himself from the case after making off-the-bench remarks that seemed to telegraph his view that the pledge is constitutional.
The phrase "one nation under God" is more about ceremony and history than about religion, Rehnquist wrote. He likened the phrase to the motto "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency, and to the call that opens each session of the high court itself: "God save this honorable court."
"All these events strongly suggest that our national culture allows public recognition of our nation's religious history and character," Rehnquist wrote.
Nathan Diament, policy director for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, said most Americans would be relieved by the ruling.
"There is a consensus in this country that there is an appropriate place for expressions of religion in the public square," Diament said.
The First Amendment guarantees that government will not "establish" religion, wording that has come to mean a general ban on overt government sponsorship of religion in public schools and elsewhere.
The Supreme Court already has said schoolchildren cannot be required to recite the oath that begins, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America." The court also has repeatedly barred school-sponsored prayer from classrooms, playing fields and school ceremonies.
Before 1954, when the United States was in the middle of the Cold War, the pledge did not include a reference to God. In adding it, members of Congress said they wanted to set the United States apart from "godless communists."
In a ruling last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (news - web sites) in San Francisco said the language of the First Amendment and the Supreme Court's precedents make clear that tax-supported schools cannot lend their imprimatur to a declaration of fealty to "one nation under God."
That decision set off a national uproar and would have stripped the reference to God from the version of the pledge said by about 9.6 million schoolchildren in California and other Western states covered by the appeals court.
Children were never barred from saying the full pledge, because the lower court ruling was on hold while the Supreme Court considered the issue.
Like most elementary school children, Newdow's daughter hears her teacher lead the pledge each morning. The case began when Newdow, a lawyer, doctor and self-proclaimed atheist minister, sued his daughter's Sacramento-area school district, Congress and President Bush (news - web sites) to remove the words "under God."
In one of the many odd twists to an odd case, Newdow served as his own lawyer when the Supreme Court heard arguments in March. He argued that each day his daughter hears the pledge is another day that a teacher tells her, in effect, that her father is wrong.
The mother, Sandra Banning, told the court in legal filings that she makes the decisions about the girl's education. Newdow can fight the pledge on his own, but should not drag their daughter into it, Banning argued. She added that she supports leaving the pledge as it is, and wants her daughter to continue reciting it at school.
The case is Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, 02-1624.
|06-15-2004, 03:23 AM||#2|
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: we are all made of stars
I wonder if that jackass voted for Bush!
They should be able to impeach his bitch ass on those grounds!
Be yourself, because the people that mind don't matter, and the people that matter don't mind.
|06-15-2004, 04:57 AM||#3|
Spone to Proonerisms
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The Left Coast
I'm kind of amazed that this case even made it to the supreme court. Seems like the guy's financial support would have run out long ago if it was going to get thrown out on a technicality...
...and another handful of almonds
|06-15-2004, 05:55 AM||#4|
MR. Smartypants to you.
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Oh, YOU PEOPLE go ahead and call it "Frisco." See if I care.
Supreme Court Justices, my ass! Supreme Court Wimps is more like it.
The only reason that god is still invoked in Congress is that no elected official is going to risk his political career challenging it. But as for legal precedent, that's already been set by the Court's finding that prayer and religious ceremonies at public-school sports events and graduations are unconstitutional. The Supremes all want to keep god in government, but they know it is expressly excluded by the Constitution. This was their only way to preserve their own religious bias -- to kick out the case on a technicality.
This seems on the surface like an idiotic case, but its final outcome in the Supreme Court can(and will) have enormous implications for the country regarding separation of church and state, and the religious right's stranglehold on the American way.
"I don't think God wants us to believe in him. If he wanted us to believe in him he'd do something about it -- like exist perhaps!" --Linda Smith
|05-22-2006, 06:03 PM||#5|
Join Date: Feb 2006
Why “Under God” in the Pledge is Wrong: The Legal Argument
Why “Under God” in the Pledge is Wrong: The Legal Argument
by Fred T. Slicer
The U. S. Constitution of 1787 is one of enumerated and limited powers. It excludes religion from the trust granted to the general government by the people.
The First Amendment is rather ambiguous at first read in there is more than one reasonable interpretation. The word “religion” is not defined and in 1789 was commonly used to mean more than one idea.
Resolving this ambiguity must be accomplished keeping in mind the “non delegation of authority over religion” in the un-amended Constitution. Any ambiguity in the U. S. Constitution with regard to religious liberty was resolved, during the first 50 years of the republic, in favor of the Perfect Separation of Church and State as generally articulated by the Jeffersonian Republicans and as particularly articulated by James Madison.
Madison held that that religion is the duty which we owe to our Creator and is exempt from the cognizance of the government. This was the principle adopted by the U. S. Supreme Court the first time it had to apply the religious clauses in 1787.
Every major political dispute over the meaning of the religion clauses during the Early Years of the Republic was decided in favor of James Madison's view of religious liberty. These disputes included:
· Whether Congress expressed the correct principle of the establishment clause by appointing Chaplains and paying them from the national taxes. (The House of Representatives in 1811 rejected the Federalist argument that the Constitution was intended to prevent the establishment of a National Church, such as the Church of England and that the correct principle was not violated by the appointment of Chaplains to Congress and paying from the national taxes. The House rejected the same argument in 1832 when it refused to pass a joint resolution to request the President to issue a religious recommendation to the people.)During the early years of the Republic, Congress never once made God the object of human legislation. It abstained from making laws regarding the people’s trust in their God or their beliefs regarding whether or not this is “one nation under God.” The Federal Government never recommended or advised the people to read, reflect upon or to obey particular religious commandments such as those God imposed on the Children of Israel.
Whether or not the nation is "under God" pertains to the duty which we owe to our Creator. As James Madison declared during the Virginia Ratification Convention of 1788 on the Federal Constitution, "There is not a shadow of a right in the general government to intermeddle with religion."
We must find that there is not a shadow of a right in the general government to intermeddle with the people’s trust in God.
|05-26-2006, 06:48 PM||#6|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: in the labyrinth of shared happiness
Thank you Fred - perhaps this idiot should have had you for his lawyer. What's that old saying that goes something like "Anyone who serves as his own lawyer has a fool for a client" ?
However, I never thought I'd agree with Reinquist on anything, but I do think he's right when he said ""All these events strongly suggest that our national culture allows public recognition of our nation's religious history and character." That's a pretty bland way of shrugging one's political shoulders and saying "eh" - which is exactly how I feel about the whole thing.
Whether or not we say "under God" in the pledge of allegiance is not going to hurt people of faith or make them more righteous in God's eyes, or damn us all to oblivion - the nation did just fine without it for a long time, and the fact that it grew out of the Red Scare in the fifties is nothing to recommend it. I b'lieve loving one's neighbors and "helping widows and orphans in their trouble" tops that list of things God likes to see people of faith doing.
Whether or not the phrase is there is a non-issue, right up there with flag-burning. It distracts from the real problems that should demand our attention and activism - poverty, war, seeing to it that the children of the world are properly protected from hunger, disease, murder, military abductions or slavery, just for starters. Government spin doctors love the non-issues so we won't do anything about the real ones.
I was disgusted by this case. The whole issue is cosmetic.
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