Following up on the “…under God…” controversy from 2002 and last year, tomorrow the case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court — with Dr. Michael A. Newdow representing himself in the case.
Newdow convinced a divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2002 that the 50-year-old addition to the pledge amounts to government establishment of religion, which is prohibited by the First Amendment. But he will face overwhelming opposition at the Supreme Court.
After the appeals court ruling, the Senate voted 99-0 and the House of Representatives voted 416-3 to reaffirm their support for “under God.” Other high-power individuals and groups have lined up to oppose Newdow.
As I’ve said in the past, I think 9th Circuit Court was correct the first time, and that the constitutionally-mandated separation of Church and State should mandate the removal of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. However, as our current administration seems to consistently disregard that very separation of Church and State, to the point of claiming religious inspiration for Bush’s actions, somehow I’m not terribly optimistic about the likely outcome of this trial.
If we’re lucky, the Supreme Court will use the custody dispute between Dr. Newdow and the mother of his daughter to allow them to dismiss the case out of hand, and the constitutionality of the Pledge will stay in its current somewhat nebulous state. I’d rather have that as an end result than face a Supreme Court ruling affirming the religious language in the Pledge.