Circuit Court Refuses to Hear Allegiance Case
February 28, 2003 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Michael Newdow is probably smiling today. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reconsider last June's ruling finding the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional.
posted by mrbula (12 comments total)

 
I suppose this will probably take the nation's focus off the impending war for a day or so.
posted by mrbula at 12:33 PM on February 28, 2003


Forget the "under God" bit. Why the hell are schoolkids expected to recite a Pledge of Allegiance in the first place? It reeks of the kind of blind nationalism you see in totalitarian states like North Korea or the former Communist bloc. It just comes across as ... odd.
posted by salmacis at 12:39 PM on February 28, 2003


Thank God! Now if I can just get my daughter's school to comply.
posted by filchyboy at 12:43 PM on February 28, 2003


I suppose this will probably take the nation's focus off the impending war for a day or so.

Wow, a sideshow for a sideshow. Is there even a word for that?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:47 PM on February 28, 2003


Is there even a word for that?

Sideblog? *grins, runs, has lunch*
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:14 PM on February 28, 2003


Why the hell are schoolkids expected to recite a Pledge of Allegiance in the first place? It reeks of the kind of blind nationalism you see in totalitarian states like North Korea or the former Communist bloc

I absolutely agree. There was an article in the local paper about a nearby school that required the kids to say the pledge every day (since then, the state has passed a law requiring the same throughout the state). When asked what happened when a kid chose not to participate, the principal explained how he would personally talk to the child and discuss "what a privilege it is to be able to say the pledge". A privilege? Really? To recite a government-mandated statement of loyalty?
posted by daveadams at 1:29 PM on February 28, 2003


"...with liberty and justice for all." Except, of course, the liberty to not recite it.

High government officials take an oath to uphold the Constitution. this is right, and just, and fair, as the Constitution is the codification of the principles by which America will be governed. But to oblige ordinary citizens, and minor ones at that, to make obeisance to a symbol which doesn't itself even date to the founding of the republic, and only incidentally to the republic it represents, seems jingoistic at best.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:38 PM on February 28, 2003


Wow. Does that mean the resolution is binding in the 9th circut and schools may not say the pledge?
posted by delmoi at 2:55 PM on February 28, 2003


I believe so. My understanding is the only way the decision wouldn't be binding is if the Supreme Court decided to hear an appeal.
posted by mrbula at 3:03 PM on February 28, 2003


The political pressure here is pretty amazing, so it would be surprising to me if the US Supreme Court doesn't hear the case. It would also be surprising if they don't overturn it.

What I'm looking forward to is the general argument of their decision. There's just no way around it, unless you start saying that "God" doesn't mean Christianity's God, but could also mean Buddha, Allah, etc. In which case, if I have any kids they're going to be saying "one nation, under My Dad, with liberty and justice for all."
posted by zekinskia at 3:11 PM on February 28, 2003


The original Pledge was recited while giving a stiff, uplifted right hand salute, criticized and discontinued during WWII! The phrase, "Under God," was added by
Congress and President Eisenhower in 1954 at the urging of the Knights of Columbus. The Strange Origin of the Pledge of Allegiance
posted by michaelonfs at 4:40 PM on February 28, 2003


Just in case anyone doesn't realize this, under Supreme Court precedent, public schools cannot require anybody, including a schoolchild, to say the pledge (or even stand up during it according to a number of curcuits) if they have an objection to it.

I just find it hard to swallow the notion that "under God" has any significant religious meaning in the context of the pledge. "Ceremonial deism" is the word that Justice Brennen used for it, I think. Ironically, a huge national debate over this decision is likely to actually restore some degree of true religious meaning to it in the minds of many. Since it's almost certain to get reviewed and reversed by the Supreme Court, the result will probably be worse for the plaintiffs than if they had never brought the suit in the first place.
posted by boltman at 11:43 PM on February 28, 2003


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