U.S. House passes amendment to ban SCOTUS from hearing cases dealing with the Pledge.

They’ve been talking about doing this for awhile now and it looks like today they have:

Yahoo! News – House Blocks Court on Pledge Case Rulings

WASHINGTON – The House passed legislation Thursday that would prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on whether the words “under God” should be stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance.

In a politically and emotionally charged debate six weeks before Election Day, Democrats said majority Republicans were debasing the Constitution to force a vote that could hurt Democrats at the ballot box.

Supporters insisted Congress has always had authority to limit federal court jurisdiction, and the legislation is needed to protect an affirmation of religion that is part of the national heritage.

The bill, which the House approved, 247-173, would prohibit federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from hearing cases involving the pledge and its recitation and would prevent federal courts from striking the words “under God” from the pledge.

The legislation has little chance of advancing in the Senate this year, but it laid down another marker for politicians seeking to differentiate themselves from their election opponents on volatile social issues of the day. Other “wedge” issues that have come up or may arise before the election include gay marriage and flag-burning.

If this somehow makes it through the Senate it’s going to set a precedent that is likely to come back and haunt the Republicans at some point in the future. Messing with the checks and balances is just a dumb fuck thing to do as it’s served this country well for over 200 years. At least a couple of people in Washington seems to understand this:

But Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said, “We’re playing with fire here, we are playing with the national unity of this country” by undoing 200 years of federal judicial review and letting each state make its own interpretation of constitutional law.

There is no direct precedent for making exceptions to the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction, said Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., who backed the original bill but opposed the changes.

“The issue today may be the pledge, but what if the issue tomorrow is Second Amendment (gun) rights, civil rights, environmental protection, or a host of other issue that members may hold dear?” she asked.

Thanks to Bachalon and Etan for passing this along.

11 thoughts on “U.S. House passes amendment to ban SCOTUS from hearing cases dealing with the Pledge.

  1. Stupid, stupid rat creatures.

    I don’t know if I’m more irked that someone has actually done this in pursuit of something trivial like the Pledge case, or that someone has done it in order to score points with the voters.  Rrg.

  2. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Doesn’t that state right there that they can’t make laws that about religion? Isn’t keeping “under god” in the pledge putting one religion before another?

    Shall we touch on the fact that in the Constitution, our forefathers created the separation of powers so no one branch of the government had all the power? Is it just me or is the House trying to unbalance our country and take power away from the courts?

    thanks for reading

  3. Rachel-G, there is a thread from from last August disscusing similar legislation prohibiting judicial revue of anti gay marriage laws. See the posts by Valhalla and Pop Tarts starting here.

  4. The way I see it they may have really backed themselves into a corner.  If federal courts have no jurisdiction that means that this becomes strictly an issue of the state.  I would if assume that if one state deems the pledge violates either first amendment rights or is a violation of church and state that the constitution would have to be amended to comply with those state’s rights.

    At the very least, I would think if two or more states sought to bring change to the pledge it would automatically bring the supreme court back into the picture by triggering Article 3 sec. 2 of the constitution, which requires the supreme court to adjudicate discrepancies in states rights.

    Either way, these guys are a bunch of nimrods that need to be sent packing because this is sure as shit going to backfire down the road.

  5. Well if the God people all end up winning out in the end I’m starting my own church and applying for state money.  Church of the Unemployed or maybe Church of the Basement Gamer.

  6. BAH!  Fact is we live in a Theocratic Dictatorship…parts of the law that haven’t already been ‘assimilated’ soon will be.  Will this backfire:  Yes.  Does it matter to those in power:  HELL NO!  rolleyes

  7. Wait a minute, the amendment only prevents Supreme Court and Federal courts from haveing jurisdiction? So state courts will have jurisdiction?

    Where state courts make decision that the state government do not like an amendment is usually passed in the state legislation. But to enforce it one would have to go to court. And since the Supreme Court have no jurisdiction over the matter what is left is the state’s court. And … what do you think its reaction to a legislation striking down its decision would be?

    The initial pledge case was struck down for procedural matters, more I think about it, the more I agree with the decision that the procedural matters actually touched on issues that are quite substantial. But from the words of the judges, it would seem that if there was no procedural issue involved, the court would have uphold the decision. So by removing the supreme court from the equation, is it not more likely that state courts especially in certain states will actually strike down the provision?

    Furthermore, the obiter dictum of the supreme court with regards to ‘under god’ no longer becomes as persuasive because the amendment removes their jurisdiction thus suggestion to state courts that this is a matter in which the states may make their own decision rather than follow the supreme court directions.

  8. Well, well, well, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. someone a lot smarter than me wrote that a long time ago. for a cheap shot to win more support for wingnuts in congress to be erected, they opened up Pandoras Box. You have to believe someone in california will apply to State court to have “under god” eliminated from the pledge, and the state court feeling its oats will do just that. Then some enterprising soul with a little law talent will go after bigger game, since no law just sits there dangling, I really don’t have much confidence in our congress at the moment. Come on people vote, make a difference. I am sure you all are the last sentence was just retorical. Ironicmongering in peace!!

  9. There’s a culture war going on in this country, between the really red states and the really blue states (of course, most of the really blue states are the ones with all the ports, but whatever).  This certainly won’t help things.

    Anywho, I just wanted to mention, that everyone’s favorite “Democrat” Zell Miller helped sponsor this piece of dog doo.

    The supreme court will likely find the bill unconstitutional anyway…

  10. I regret to say that it was my Representative, Todd Akin, who introduced the amendment that made this possible, and one of my Senators is pushing companion legislation in the Senate. I’m so glad I moved back to Flatlandia.

  11. > The supreme court will likely find the bill
    > unconstitutional anyway

    Well, then the Bush administration will declare the Supreme Court unconstitutional. Maybe unilaterally withdraw from the checks and balances system wink

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