Last updated on: 7/6/2009 | Author:

Should the Pledge of Allegiance Be Removed from the Jurisdiction of Federal Courts?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

Associated Press writer Jim Abrams reported on July 20, 2006:

“Legislation [Pledge Protection Act aka H. R. 2389] to bar federal courts from ruling on constitutional issues arising from the Pledge of Allegiance, including the ‘one nation under God’ reference, passed the House after lawmakers argued that the pledge is linked to the nation’s spiritual history.

Opponents countered that such a law, a priority of social conservatives, would undercut judicial independence and deny access to federal courts to religious minorities seeking to defend their rights.

The measure faced an uncertain future in the Senate after the House voted 260-167 on Wednesday [July 19, 2006].”

For vote breakdown and other more specific information visit H.R. 2389 Overview.

See the full text of H.R. 2389

[Editor’s Note: The Pledge Protection Act has been introduced to the 107th, 108th, 109th, and 110th House of Representatives. It passed the 108th and 109th House, but was not voted on by the Senate. As of July 6, 2009, there are no versions of the bill in either the House or the Senate.]

July 20, 2006 - Associated Press

PRO (yes)


Todd Akin, MDiv, Republican Congressman from Missouri, wrote the following in an Aug. 25, 2003 publication of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“Within the Declaration of Independence is found a simple formula: There is a God. God grants rights. The primary role of government is to protect those rights. The Ninth’s decision to declare ‘under God’ unconstitutional strikes at the very foundation of our rights and liberties. And as Thomas Jefferson, the author of that Declaration, put it: ‘Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?’

I think not, which is why the Pledge Protection Act is a reasonable and necessary response to the usurpation of the Constitution by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Aug. 25, 2003 - W. Todd Akin, MDiv


Sam Brownback, JD, Republican Senator from Kansas, was quoted in a June 14, 2006 article on the Citizen Link website as saying:

“You’ve got 40 years of decisions by activist judges trying to remove any trace of God in the public square, and the march continues. We really have to fight back against that for our own fundamental freedoms of the free expression of religion in society — which is guaranteed in the Constitution.”

June 14, 2006 - Sam Brownback, JD


Trent Franks, Republican Congressman from Arizona, in a Sep. 23, 2004 press release stated:

“The greatest divisions in the United States have come on the heels of some errant court decision: the Civil War, Separate But Equal Education, Obscenity Rulings, Abortion, Taking God out of the classroom, Partial Birth Abortion, and most recently, the utter denial of God. The very rule of law is at stake if we continue to allow such judicial activism and law-breaking by those who would seek to impose their social policies on the rest of this nation by circumventing the legislative process through judicial feat. I commend my colleagues, for taking action today, to stop the court’s threat to the very underpinning that holds this nation together.”

Sep. 23, 2004 - Trent Franks


Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, was quoted in a July 19, 2006 posting to the Citizens Link website as saying:

“Nearly 90 percent of Americans believe ‘under God’ should remain in the Pledge and that students should be allowed to recite the Pledge. I am pleased to see Congress exercising its constitutional authority to check the power of the courts which have tried to strip ‘God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Pledge Protection Act will help restore the system of checks and balances intended by our Founding Fathers.

We continue to see attempts to remove any acknowledgement of God from the public square. If the Pledge falls under the attack of liberal activists and their judicial accomplices, we can expect our nation’s motto and other historical inscriptions to fall as well.”

July 19, 2006 - Family Research Council


Concerned Women for America, in a July 19, 2006 press release, argued:

“Americans want to preserve our national pledge, which represents our devotion and loyalty to our country. Hand upon heart, little children across the country should be able to continue reciting this pledge without the fear of it being stripped away by activist judges.

Our pledge distinguishes us from many other nations that also proclaim their patriotism. We as Americans are free from an established church and are ensured with the privilege to worship as we choose. Our pledge simply emphasizes that freedom.

The words ‘under God’ in our Pledge remind us of the many struggles our Founders had to endure through history to secure the freedoms we now enjoy. It is an oath uniting us as a nation and a promise to maintain the honor of our country.”

July 19, 2006 - Concerned Women for America

CON (no)


Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, was quoted on July 19, 2006 in US Newswire as saying:

“We all agree: ‘One nation, under God.’ What a beautiful pledge. So rather than address the concerns of the American people, we are making an assault on the Constitution of the United States, which will fail. Fundamental to our democracy is the separation of powers, a system of checks and balances, but this Republican Congress says that Congress should strip the courts of their power to be a check and a balance to the other branches of government.”

July 19, 2006 - Nancy Pelosi


Michael Newdow, JD, MD, quoted on July 19, 2006 in Reuters, argued:

“They are showing the courts that this is a huge issue and that they want their religious view espoused by our government which is exactly what the Constitution forbids.”

July 19, 2006 - Michael Newdow, JD, MD


Bob Inglis, JD, U.S. Representative (R-SC), was quoted on July 5, 2006 in The Hill as saying:

“Let’s start by agreeing that we want the words ‘under God’ to remain in the Pledge of Allegiance… This bill [Pledge Protection Act] would prohibit federal courts from hearing cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance. A liberal Congress might someday try to strip the courts of the right to hear cases claiming other constitutional claims – the right to protest at abortion clinics or the right to distribute Gospel tracts, for example.

The motives of the bill’s author are good, but we need to do the right thing in the right way. This is the wrong way to try to protect our clear right to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.”

July 5, 2006 - Bob Inglis, JD


Marci A. Hamilton, JD, Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, wrote on Sep. 23, 2004 for

“This is a remarkable violation of the separation of powers and the Establishment Clause. If the [Pledge Protection] Act were to become law – and if it were, itself, to be upheld as constitutional – only state courts would be able to hear constitutional challenges to the Pledge.

We would therefore have a 50-state collection of views as to what the Free Exercise Clause, and the Establishment Clause, mean in this context. And that would be constitutional lunacy. Moreover, we would have Congress making its actions that involve compelled speech and religious viewpoint unreviewable!”

Sep. 23, 2004 - Marci A. Hamilton, JD


Vincent Phillip Munoz, PhD, in a Jan. 2005 publication of First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, wrote:

“A Supreme Court victory can never be guaranteed, but a Pledge challenge can be won. ‘Under God’ should be protected. But how it is protected matters. Rather than take the case away from the federal judiciary, the issue should be brought to it, and the Pledge should be protected in all fifty states by the Supreme Court.”

Jan. 2005 - Vincent Phillip Muñoz, PhD


Americans United for Separation of Church and State Executive Director Rev. Barry W. Lynn, on June 28, 2006, issued a press release stating:

“Far from protecting the Pledge of Allegiance, this misguided measure trampled on the rights of Americans and tried to force an unnecessary showdown between two branches of government.”

June 28, 2006 - Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU)