June 15, 2004

The Hedge of Allegiance


CNN reported yesterday: Court dismisses Pledge case; Atheist father cannot sue over use of 'Under God'.

The Supreme Court preserved the phrase "one nation, under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance, ruling Monday that a California atheist could not challenge the patriotic oath but sidestepping the broader question of separation of church and state. ... The high court's lengthy opinion overturns a ruling two years ago that the teacher-led pledge was unconstitutional in public schools. ... The [overruled] 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals 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 of "one nation under God."...

Congress adopted the pledge as a secular, patriotic tribute in 1942, at the height of World War II. Congress added the phrase "under God" more than a decade later, in 1954, when the world had moved from hot war to cold. Supporters of the new wording said it would set the United States apart from godless communism.

This cartoon was directly inspired by a headline from Robert Tracinski's June 15th TIA Daily: "Supremes Punt on the Pledge". Tracinski wrote:

Faced with the need for a controversial decision, the Supreme Court bravely dodges the issue, deciding (somewhat dubiously) that a girl's own father doesn't have standing to sue on her behalf. But when the court finally does make its decision, it is clear that there are at least four votes on the court for weakening the wall of separation between church and state.

From the CNN article: "Justice Antonin Scalia removed himself from participation in the case, presumably because of remarks he had made that seemed to telegraph his view that the pledge is constitutional. [...] Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist agreed with the outcome of the case, but still wrote separately to say that the Pledge as recited by schoolchildren does not violate the Constitution. Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas agreed with him."

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Posted by Forkum at June 15, 2004 10:14 PM