Wednesday, September 14, 2005

One Nation, Under the Federal Judiciary

Here we go again.

Federal Judge Pulls Plug On Pledge

Is there such a thing as a secular fanatic?

A federal judge declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional Wednesday, a decision that could put the divisive issue on track for another round of Supreme Court arguments.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton 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."

Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.

The Supreme Court dismissed the case last year, saying Newdow lacked standing because he did not have custody of his elementary school daughter he sued on behalf of.

Someone straighten me out here. If the Supreme Court dismissed the case, then there is no precedent right? Obviously, I’m no lawyer, so someone make me understand. A case can be deep sixed, yet the precedent stands?

The decisions by Karlton and the 9th Circuit conflict with an August opinion by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. That court upheld a Virginia law requiring public schools lead daily Pledge of Allegiance recitation, which is similar to the requirement in California.

I knew all of the sane folks were in Virginia.

Karlton, appointed to the Sacramento bench in 1979 by President Carter…

I should have known.

Karlton dismissed claims that the 1954 Congressional legislation inserting the words "under God" was unconstitutional. If his ruling stands, he reasoned that the school children and their parents in the case would not be harmed by the phrase because they would no longer have to recite it at school.

Now I’m confused.

In any case, let’s go back to the 'separation' clause:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

Looks to me like the Founding Fathers were attempting to avoid a theocracy, but what the heck do I know? I suppose the mere speaking of words is enough to establish a religion. I plan to establish my own religion now that I know how easy it is. It's certainly easier than establishing credit. SCOTUS sidestepped this issue last time around. Let’s see them wiggle out of this one.