A federal appeals court upheld the use of the words “under G-d” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In G-d We Trust” on U.S. currency, rejecting arguments that the phrases violate the separation of church and state.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected challenges by Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow, who says references to G-d are unconstitutional. The underlying lawsuit reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004, and the High Court said Newdow lacked standing since he did not have custody of his daughter, on whose behalf he claimed to bring the case. So he filed another case using children of other atheist parents to overcome the standing issue and object to the recitation of the pledge at school. In 2005, a federal judge in Sacramento decided in Newdow’s favor, prompting the appeals court to take up the case again. Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the majority in Thursday’s 2-1 ruling finding that “[t]he Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded,” he said. Newbow says he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court again!
Last fall I gave a constitutional law lecture at Chapman Law School discussing the Newbow case and various religious tests articulated by the High Court. A video clip of this panel discussion can be seen here under ‘Appearances’ entitled “The 9th Circuit Powerhouse:
Pending Cases, Pending Outcomes Pending Precedents, and Pending Problems?”. Chapman Law School
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