Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Pledge of Allegiance is still unconstitutional - at least in the Ninth Circus, er Circuit

A Federal judge in, where else, San Francisco, ruled today - consistent with what he believes to be binding Ninth Circuit precident - that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. For those of you who may be puzzled how the Pledge could possibly be unconstitutional, its because it has that nasty word "God" in it.

Now here's the question for you lawyers that I might decide to answer later: Is a Circuit Court opinion binding precident if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses the decision on jurisdiction grounds? I highly doubt it. Of course, the A.P. reporter may simply be legally unsophisticated when he says this:

"[Judge] Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools."
The actual opinion may not have acknowledged the Newdow case in particular - i.e., the one that was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court because Mr. Newdow lacked standing to sue on behalf of his daughter over whom he did not have custody and she and mom refused to join the lawsuit - but rather all the other Ninth Circuit authority (and, I must admit, the muddled, confusing and inconsistent U.S. Supreme Court authority) that the Newdow opinion cited.

Like I said, I'll get to it later.


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