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More on the Pledge Ruling
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Here's another article (from the NY Times) on the refusal of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case, meaning that it will most likely go before the Supreme Court.

Attorney General John Ashcroft indicated that the government would ask the Supreme Court to review the case. "The Justice Department," Mr. Ashcroft said in a statement, "will spare no effort to preserve the rights of all our citizens to pledge allegiance to the American flag. We will defend the ability of Americans to declare their patriotism through the time-honored tradition of voluntarily reciting the pledge."

Which of course is not the fucking point. This isn't about Americans being able to voluntarily "declare their patriotism". This is about whether or not children should be led by the state in an oath that takes for granted that god exists.

Gov. Gray Davis of California said: "At the start of every court session, the Supreme Court invokes God's blessing. So does the Senate and the House of Representatives. Surely, the Supreme Court will permit schoolchildren to invoke God's name while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance."

Again, surely, this isn't the fucking point. If a child, at any time throughout their school day wants to spontaneously recite the Pledge, with or without reference to god, or they want to declare an oath to Satan or Tom Jones or Pikachu, they're perfectly free to do so. Repeat after me, this is about the state leading children in an oath explicitly recognizing the existence of god.

Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA, has his own blog, and here's what he thinks will happen.

NINTH CIRCUIT DENIES REHEARING EN BANC IN PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE CASE: Here's the order, with opinions attached. I predict that the Supreme Court will grant certiorari, and reverse.

Of course I hope he's wrong.

But let's look at some passages from the 46-page order:

I also feel compelled to discuss a disturbingly wrongheaded approach to constitutional law manifested in the dissent authored by Judge O’Scannlain. The dissent suggests that this court should be able to conclude that the panel’s holding was erroneous by observing the "public and political reaction" to
its decision. (p.6)


The Bill of Rights is, of course, intended to protect the rights of those in the minority against the temporary passions of a majority which might wish to limit their freedoms or liberties. (also p.6)

Yes, of course.

As for how the Endorsement Clause bears upon the Pledge ruling:

[6] In the context of the Pledge, the statement that the United States is a nation “under God” is a profession of a religious belief, namely, a belief in monotheism. The recitation that ours is a nation “under God” is not a mere acknowledgment
that many Americans believe in a deity. Nor is it merely descriptive of the undeniable historical significance of religion in the founding of the Republic. Rather, the phrase “one nation under God” in the context of the Pledge is normative.
To recite the Pledge is not to describe the United States; instead, it is to swear allegiance to the values for which the flag stands: unity, indivisibility, liberty, justice, and—since 1954—monotheism. A profession that we are a nation “under
God” is identical, for Establishment Clause purposes, to a profession that we are a nation “under Jesus,” a nation “under Vishnu,” a nation “under Zeus,” or a nation “under no god,” because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion. The school district’s practice of teacher-led recita-tion of the Pledge aims to inculcate in students a respect for the ideals set forth in the Pledge, including the religious values it incorporates.


Since this ruling was first handed down, I have yet to read or hear a reasoned argument that refutes the logic of this passage. If you have, please point me to it. Instead, all we get is irrational invective and pandering misrepresentations from public officials.

The court was exactly right. The Pledge is not descriptive.'s a fucking pledge! When you say it, you're professing an oath to the ideals inherent in the language.

The simple fact is that children should not be compelled to recite clearly religious language (and anyone who argues that "under god" is not religious language has their head up their ass) led by a ward of the state. If they want to say it on their own, fine. There are about 5,000 opportunities throughout the day for them to do so. But should the state be leading children in such a pledge?

Of course not.

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