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June 14, 2004
Common Sense Prevails, For Now

The Supreme Court has given a narrow and temporary victory to the advocates of common sense over shrill absolutism by turning back an attempt by Michael Newdow to strip "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance:

The Supreme Court at least temporarily preserved the phrase "one nation, under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance, ruling Monday that a California atheist could not challenge the patriotic oath while sidestepping the broader question of separation of church and state.

The decision leaves untouched the practice in which millions of schoolchildren around the country begin the day by reciting the pledge.

The court said the atheist could not sue to ban the pledge from his daughter's school and others because he did not have legal authority to speak for her.

The justices have left the door open for further challenges to the Pledge, making it clear that the majority rested its decision on Newdow's lack of standing to bring the suit. His daughter's mother has challenged Newdow's standing by insisting that she has primary custody and furthermore prefers the pledge as written. Newdow has attracted a lot of criticism for using his daughter to further his own legal career, and perhaps a political career as well. Certainly Newdow will make the talk-show circuit this evening, and for evenings to come, as well as the leftist public-speaking lists.

Unfortunately, we will once again find ourselves at the same point, and eventually SCOTUS will not have such an easy excuse to pass on making a judgment. Another parent will sue on behalf of the tender sensibilities of their child in order to reinforce the vacuous and mythical right against offense, which appears nowhere. Nowhere, in any of the founding documents, does the United States guarantee a freedom from religious expression of any kind. Such an idea would have garnered gales of laughter from the same men who habitually wrote "in the Year of our Lord" when dating these documents, a phrase which evokes Christianity in a much more specific way than "under God".

Perhaps it is too much to hope that the ACLU and other assorted nutcases who supported Newdow's quest for political correctness and the limitation of speech in public will find better ways to fill their time. We'll keep praying they do.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 14, 2004 10:09 AM

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» One Nation, Under God (at Least for Now) from The Bonassus
Forcing kids to participate in religious exercise is obnoxious. But I'm still glad SCOTUS didn't uphold the anti-"under God" ruling. [Read More]

Tracked on June 14, 2004 11:24 AM

» God Wins on a Technicality from damnum absque injuria
Elk Grove Unified School District v. Michael A. Newdow 542 U.S. ____ (2004) has been decided. The Court ruled unanimously against Michael "I will win because I'm right" Newdow, although they were not unanimous on the reason. Ironically, all four ... [Read More]

Tracked on June 14, 2004 11:55 AM

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