Pledge of Allegiance Court Battle Continues; PJI Files New Brief

San Diego, CA – Despite a big win earlier this spring for the Pledge of Allegiance in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the fight is far from over. On March 11, 2010, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the pledge was constitutional. Now, the Ninth Circuit is considering Dr. Michael Newdow’s request for en banc review, consisting of a larger eleven judge panel chosen at random. Pursuant to the Ninth Circuit’s request, the Pacific Justice Institute filed an amicus curiae brief today supporting the Pledge of Allegiance and encouraging the full Ninth Circuit not to rehear the ruling of the three judge panel which consumed nearly two hundred pages of majority and dissenting opinion.

The Pacific Justice Institute has now been filing numerous briefs in this case, and will continue to do so in the likely event that it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Newdow believes the pledge to be unconstitutional, and in his moving papers states that the practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at school “results in real harm to real children.” Of course, Dr. Newdow has not provided any evidence to support this assertion.

“Regardless of whether the Ninth Circuit grants the motion or not, we are confident that the Pledge of Allegiance will be found to be constitutional,” said Brad Dacus, President of the Pacific Justice Institute. “We want to protect children from the real harm of the eradication of accurate awareness of our nation’s religious heritage caused by anti-religious advocates.”

Attorney Pete Lepiscopo of the San Diego firm Lepiscopo & Morrow, who heads PJI’s San Diego office, filed the brief with the Ninth Circuit on behalf of the Pacific Justice Institute. Lepiscopo commented, “The Constitution’s Establishment Clause does not forbid official acknowledgements of the existence of God. These simple recognitions are a practice begun by the same Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution. To think that our Founding Fathers would condemn practices they had just instituted is ridiculous.”