San Francisco – The 9th District Court of Appeals today ruled 2-1 against atheist Michael Newdow, who filed the case challenging “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“The Pledge is constitutional,” Judge Carlos Bea wrote in the 2-1 ruling. “The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded.”
Carlos Bea was appointed by George Bush in 2003. The year before, Michael Newdow had won a similar case in the 9th District – and that ruling went the other way. Newdow won, but the case was later dismissed by the Supreme Court on a technicality.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who was part of the three-judge panel that ruled in Dr Newdow’s favour eight years ago, wrote a 123-page dissent to the 60-page majority opinion.
“Under no sound legal analysis adhering to binding Supreme Court precedent could this court uphold state-directed, teacher-led, daily recitation of the ‘under God’ version of the Pledge of Allegiance by children in public schools,” wrote Reinhardt, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
It’s amazing how one judge could be so correct, and a conservative appointee can be so wrong.
As the Telegraph UK goes on to report, it’s unlikely the current incarnation of the Supreme Court will hear the case, so it’s most likely dead for now, thanks to a Bush judge. Yes, elections do have consequences. Hopefully, a two-term Obama can begin to undue the judicial damage done by thousands of appointments made not on merit, but on conservative ideology.
In a separate ruling, the court also upheld the phrase “In God We Trust” on money. They cited an earlier 9th Circuit panel that ruled the phrase is ceremonial and patriotic and “has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion.”
What the? “In God we Trust” has nothing to do with religion? What kind of convoluted logic is that?
A “reporter” on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club said “this is certainly good news” and “finally, some common sense, this is a motto on our money, this is our Pledge.” Playing into the theocracy of fundamentalists who think they are somehow related to the founding or the Constitution.
The phrase “Under God” was added to the Pledge in 1954 by some who felt it countered the “godless communists.” The motto on money isn’t original either.
Atheists, freethinkers, and anyone valuing real liberty should be outraged by the ruling, but not surprised. The fundamentalist right spent many years stacking judicial positions around the country. They are getting return on their investment.