For Release: June 14, 2004
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106
Black Activists Support Pledge of Allegiance Supreme Court Ruling Helpful, But Activist Judges Still Pose Threat
Members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 commend the U.S. Supreme Court for dismissing a decision forcing the removal of "one nation, under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance recited by children in public schools in the West. They caution, however, that the effort to alter the Pledge is far from over. Project 21 members note activist judges make it all too likely the High Court will be forced to rule on this issue in the near future.
"What's really at the heart of this case is judicial activism," said Project 21 member Mychal Massie. "Liberals are using courts to enact a radical agenda that cannot be passed in the legislature. In this case, the Supreme Court essentially chastised a lower court for overstepping its bounds in letting an estranged parent use his daughter to pursue a political agenda. The lower court was effectively silencing the child to achieve a political goal."
In the case of Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, atheist Michael Newdow sued to ban the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in his daughter's school because of the reference to God. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision determined the First Amendment bars such a reference in taxpayer-funded schools because the government is forcing religion on students. Although the Bush Administration argued the Pledge's reference poses no threat of a state-imposed religion, the Supreme Court unanimously voted to instead dismiss the case on the grounds that the father did not have the legal standing to speak for his daughter.
Three justices, Chief Justice William H. Rhenquist, Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas, nonetheless issued a separate opinion supporting the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance. Because the Court did not rule on the actual merits of the case, legal observers expect it is only a matter of time before a new challenge is made against the Pledge.
"It should be understood that the Supreme Court has not really rendered an opinion in this case," adds Massie. "That the case made it all the way to the Court makes it clear that Americans who value our national traditions must unite behind efforts to support the nomination of more constructionist judges to our courts."
Project 21 is a leader in championing constructionist judicial thought that bases legal decisions on written law rather than interpretation of it as practiced by liberal activist judges who are essentially legislating from the bench with their opinions. Project 21 is also outspoken in criticizing the obstructionist tactics currently being used by Senate liberals to keep President George W. Bush's constructionist judicial nominees from receiving fair and timely confirmation votes.
Project 21 has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.
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