Looks the the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take hear the appeal of the controversial decision in the Michael Newdow Pledge of Allegiance case.
“This case represents an important opportunity to put a halt to a national effort aimed at removing any religious phrase or reference from our culture,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a law firm founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson.
The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called the pledge case the most controversial issue before the high court in a decade.
“Everyone’s got an opinion, informed or otherwise,” Lynn said. “The bottom line is, will we require a daily religious loyalty oath for school children?”
The administration, the girl’s school and atheist Michael Newdow all asked the Supreme Court to get involved in the case.
The court, however, agreed only to hear the appeal from the school district. The administration will be able to weigh in separately. The court also said it will consider whether Newdow had the proper legal footing to bring the case.
Justice Antonin Scalia will not take part in the case, apparently because of public remarks earlier this year critical of the lower court ruling in the pledge case. His absence sets up the possibility that the other eight justices could deadlock 4-4, a result that would allow the lower court decision to stand.
I’m very happy to hear that Scalia has opted not to participate in the ruling given his critical comments earlier on the issue. I suspect the Supreme Court will end up reversing the ruling of the lower court, but I’m hopeful they’ll end up siding with Newdow and not allow the Pledge in it’s current form to be mandated by schools. Better yet would be an overturning of the 1954 law that added the words to the Pledge in the first place. Restore it to it’s original form and there won’t be this issue to contend with.