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  • This Just In! The Pledge of Allegiance is Constitutional

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    Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance (PDF). Judge Carlos Bea, the author of the majority opinion, finely exhibited what it means to be a constitutionalist judge. His opinion considered the words “under God” not in isolation, but within their proper context and according to an honest analysis of the relevant history.

    In contrast, Judge Reinhardt’s dissenting opinion displays judicial activism at its best. Reinhardt used his opinion as a vessel through which to advance his own political views: attacking politicians and praising others: none of which had anything to do with the constitutional issue at hand.

    Here are some of the highlights from Reinhardt’s hubristic dissent:

    • Attacking Sarah Palin
    • Reinhardt mentions that some people who are not familiar with American political history   may think that the current language of the Pledge dates back to the Founding Fathers.  In a footnote 4, he states, “See, for example, the words of former Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska: ‘If [the Pledge] was good enough for the founding fathers, its [sic] good enough for me . . . ‘”

    While quoting misstatements by politicians is great fun for late night talk show hosts, it is difficult to see what if any purpose it has in a judicial opinion. Would quoting President Obama’s campaign gaffe in which he claimed to have visited 57 states be a proper judicial citation for the fact that some people don’t know how many U.S. States there are? No, and the citation to Palin does little to make Reinhardt’s point, unless that point is to mock Palin at the expense of judicial decorum.

    • Accusing the majority of embracing the Tea Party movement:
    • In footnote 6, Reinhardt summarizes the majority’s argument that “under God” conveys the secular purpose of “limited government” because it refers to “the Founding Fathers’ belief that the people of this nation are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” Reinhardt continues, “The majority’s explanation of the phrase bears a suspicious resemblance to the platform of the Tea Party movement, which proclaims itself to be a ‘group of like-minded people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers. We believe in Limited Government[!]’… But even the Tea Party has not suggested previously that the phrase ‘under God’ was intended to refer presciently to its platform.”

    But it goes without saying that the majority’s language bears a suspicious resemblance to, uh, the language of the Founders, and that modern American political activists movements–from both the Left and the Right–tend to draw on the language of the Founders themselves. Perhaps he missed this connection because his opinion bears such a suspicious resemblance to the diatribes of liberal activist organizations that themselves seek to strip any reference to our religious heritage from the public square based not on the actual requirements of the Constitution, but based upon their respective policy preferences.

    And, finally, after using his opinion to make his political views ever so clear, Reinhardt makes clear his judicial philosophy as well:

    • Embracing “Judicial Empathy”
    • In footnote 109, Reinhardt states, “Empathy, a much misunderstood term, even in the world of the judiciary, means ‘the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.’… It is a quality that is most desirable in, even if frequently absent from, today’s federal judges at all levels of the judicial system.”

    Reinhardt’s musings on political movements, politicians, and the current president’s political decisions have absolutely nothing to do with the original meaning of the First Amendment. Though these statements were not the core of Reinhardt’s arguments, they had no place in the opinion whatsoever. In fact, whatever credibility his core arguments may actually have is undermined by his bizarre comments and obvious biases.

    This is just another disturbing example of what happens when judges eschew the genuine exercise of interpretation in favor of political grandstanding. Reinhardt accused the majority of echoing modern political movements in their opinion, but the only politically-loaded opinion in this case is his own.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to This Just In! The Pledge of Allegiance is Constitutional

    1. n.l. flora says:

      bully for the supreme court and this other dissenting person needs to go back and read history and then also keep his mouth closed in regard to tea party movement, sara palin..they and we, are the grass root americans..sounds maybe too cruel but maybe they all would like to go live in some of these other countries with the terrorists (that dont exist?)…

    2. Dack, Oneonta, AL says:

      Judicial empathy? I thought we were a nation of laws rather than men? Justice is supposed to be blind, which means she doesn't take into account the ethnicity, age, fiscal status, education, etc. of the parties involved. She is simply supposed to weigh the evidence on both sides in accordance with the law and make a fair ruling based only on the merits of the case presented. Unlike the motto of the Department of Justice, "Qui pro domina Justitia sequitur" (He who follows after the lady Justice), we are no longer following her closely, which is why tax-cheat Timothy Geithner can be our Secretary of the Treasury, and Charlie I-forgot-I-owned-that Rangel can still serve in the House of Representatives. Our founding fathers are turning somersaults in the grave over what we have become. At least Judge Bea made the right decision in this case.

    3. Gary, PA says:

      Once again, we see an individual who does not see the government as being for the people and by the people. Rather, he believes that it is HE and his ilk who choose what the government will provide to us.

      The people of the United States have abdicated their responsibility to the government. The government has abdicated its responsibility to future generations six, seven or more generations into the future.

      As I have written on my blog at Goodwrites.com, we have become the Abdication Nation. This Abdication Nation Will Not Stand as long as the majority takes more than it gives, and the minority gives more and more.

      We must stop this madness and prevent yet another generation from becoming enslaved to our desires and needs.

    4. Scott J. Galbraith says:

      If you haven't heard the Red Skelton version of the pledge…you just have to…I wish it were broadcast more than it has, especially in the declining morality and sense of what liberty is all about thtat is pervading the land….go to You Tube and search on Red Skelton and the Pledge….

      I have been hurt and suppressed by the liberals in power in Raleigh NC…I have been out of work for three years, fired by the liberal repressive group in place now…I was in state government, in Emergency Management for 17 years, and they cast me out and forced me to loose all benefits just so they could continue their liberal agenda. My family has suffered so much, but we stand by strong principles and are optimistic.

      I say this not only because I need help, but I believe that the fight against this liberal movement has only just begun and I want to help….so I take advantage of speaking my voice whenever I can….Maybe someone will listen to me and help…and I pray that God will lead us back to an America a citizen's individual freedoms and rights are respected.

    5. Barry N. Schmidt, D. says:

      Dack: Well-said! Our Justices are paid to interpret laws to see if they are Constitutional…not to decide on whether or not they reflect "judicial empathy." Once a judge goes down this path, the Constitution will be worthless, any previous system of checks and balances will be history, and laws will be determined purely by how people "feel" about those laws, regardless of their Constitutionality.

      If Reinhardt wanted to express his political beliefs, he should have run for Congress. Instead he was appointed to the Supreme Court….for life. Sad, Sad.

    6. Dean, Tulsa says:

      It should be noted that President Obama now knows there are not 57 states. He was taken aside and shown a list and a map of the United States of America, and he now agrees on the number of states.

    7. Dennis Social Circle says:

      Good riddance to political correct, it has been the down fall of this country. When one person dictates to the rest of us it is wrong. Thank God the supreme court has finally woken up and did one thing right. God is alive and well, this country was founded on the pricipals of Christanty, and freedom of religion. I do not care what your religion is, just do not tread on mine, and dictate to me what I have to believe. I will then fight for what I think is correct, and right for me.

    8. Pingback: Judge Rules that the Pledge of Allegiance is Constitutional. | The Dane Conservative

    9. Ryan Kopp, Evansvill says:

      Thank God. It is very nice to hear this news in defense and upholding of our Constitution and the dignity of any person who believes in God and patriotism.

    10. Tom Burnett, Hawaii says:

      As usual, people talk but have no clue about that of which they speak, and spend their time spun up on pseudo-victories when the larger view escapes them.

      The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by a socialist. "Under God" was not part of the wording until 1954.


    11. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Thank you Tom for the post. I remember the "under God" change when I was in grade school. Good stuff.

    12. Pingback: UN Internal Justice | The UN Post

    13. Billie says:

      “the Founding Fathers’ belief that the people of this nation are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” Reinhardt continues, NO REINHARDT! WE BELIEVE ALL HUMAN LIFE IS ENDOWED BY THE CREATOR! “The majority’s explanation of the phrase bears a suspicious resemblance to the platform of the Tea Party movement, PEOPLE OF DIGNITY, which proclaims itself to be a ‘group of like-minded people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers. LIKE MINDED PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO GIVE UP THEIR INNATE, INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS, MR REINHARDT IS DESPERATELY TRYING TO REMOVE! We believe in Limited Government[!]’…BECAUSE WE DON'T NEED OUR HANDS HELD OR OUR FREEDOM OF CHOICES REMOVED. OR THE PRIVACY OF OUR RESPONSIBILITIES TAKEN AWAY. But even the Tea Party has not suggested previously that the phrase ‘under God’ was intended to refer presciently to its platform.” BOTTOM LINE, GOD DOES NOT REPRESENT ANY RELIGION…

      A friend of mine works for Possis Medical. She has an outstanding work ethic. We worked together at a time.

      She is the target of removal. She is harassed by her supervisor, written up frivolously, while those that make clear mistakes are protected. I would guess it's government subsidized since no one's work ethic is recognized… or Possis is private, trying to collapse, driving out the employees of good work ethic, no accountabilities to their own ethics, waiting for the hand of government…glad to know where weakness, Possis Medical works…hence the word "MEDICAL."

    14. Tim AZ says:

      Now I see why The Pledge Of Allegiance is such a thorn in the side of these socialists. We corrected their pledge by replacing govt. with God. Socialism cannot exist along side of God. That is why they're so desperate to remove God from The American people. What a delicious irony.

    15. Dan O. Mallonee RSM, says:

      I am very pleased to see that 9th Circut up held The Pledge. But this will not stop a future challenge in U.S. Super Court. We need to make our demands known that The Pledge is important in the lives of the average American.

      The could still the High Court investigayion refuses to accept to review the decision and we must hope that this does not get returned to the lower court.

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