Get ready for more God Talk
Give it up for California, folks. Our judges sure are willing to strike the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.
A judge in the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled yesterday that the now-contentious clause is unconstitutional. Judge Lawrence Karlton said the ruling violated a child's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God." Karlton is now seeking a restraining order to prevent the Sacramento-area school at the center of the case from reciting the pledge.
The case was brought by Michael Newdow, an atheist who had previously sued to challenge the use of the phrase.
The U.S. Supreme Court last year vacated a decision that said a California school district violated the Constitution's separation of church and state clause by requiring teachers to lead the pledge. The justices didn't decide whether the pledge was constitutional, instead ruling that Newdow lacked the right to bring the challenge. Newdow overcame the hurdle by including students who live in the district in today's case.Just as Newdow immediately brought a new case to court, the conservative group involved in the case, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, announced it would immediately appeal the case, this time taking it back to the infamously "liberal" Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The ruling was announced during the third day of John Roberts' confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court. Expect to hear this issue brought up tomorrow, in the final day of the confirmation process.