Don’t sweat Newdow’s anti-Pledge lawsuit

A sharp fellow Christian conservative, Derek at Weapon of Mass Distraction, notes the news of atheist Michael Newdow’s renewed attack on the Pledge of Allegiance after his previous lawsuit went down in flames. Derek betrays some uncharacteristic pessimism about our side’s chances this time around:

… the Court ignored the case and focused on his right to file the suit (something the lower courts should have addressed). By doing so, they only delayed the inevitable appeal — and here it is.
Christians, we’re going to have to face a defeat on this issue sooner or later. I don’t suggest giving up the fight; if this is indeed a nation that is no longer under God — and one could build a good case that we are not — then we’d better prepare for judgment.
A nation that acknowledges no higher authority is precisely what humanists like Michael Newdow want.

Cheer up, Derek. It’s probably not as bad as it looks. The Supreme Court usually tries very hard not to rule on a case if at all possible. Part of that is an effort to manage what could easily become a gigantic caseload. Another part of it is their predisposition against mucking around with the Constitution. Sometimes a goofy lower court (yes, Ninth Circuit, I’m looking at you) fails to boot a silly or illegitimate case, and the Supreme Court chooses to hear the case to dispose of it. I think that’s what happened last time with Newdow.
Last time ’round I was surprised when the Supremes granted certiorari to Newdow, only to kick him to the curb for lack of standing. I suspect that they were doing their best to swat him down without giving him a chance to be heard on the merits, and so continuing their practice of trying not to fiddle with the Constitution.
This time around, Newdow fixed the standing problem. Watch for the Ninth Circuit to stroke his ego again, and then watch for another Supreme Court smackdown. Ripeness and mootness probably don’t apply, so I’m betting the Supremes will simply punt: refuse to hear the case, let the Ninth Circuit ruling stand, and wait for Congress to act.
What’ll Congress do? I think they’ll either float a Constitutional Amendment, or remove all Pledge of Allegiance cases from the jurisdiction of the federal courts.
So Derek, I agree we need to keep fighting and praying. We do live in a fallen world. However, I honestly think we’re farther from the precipice of abandoning “under God” than you fear.

One comment

  1. Chet

    What’s the rationale for leaving in “under God”? It was only added in the 50’s so the “tradition” argument doesn’t carry much wieght. And it’s pretty hard to construe this line as referring to anything but the Jewish and Christian God, which would make it an unconstitutional requirement to pledge allegiance to the religious views of one faith.
    Honestly you people need to pick your battles better than this. You’re on no kind of legal ground here.