Last updated on: 6/16/2009 | Author:

Ferdinand F. Fernandez, JD Biography

US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judge
Pro to the question "Should the Words “under God” Be in the US Pledge of Allegiance?"

“My reading of the stelliscript suggests that upon Newdow’s theory of our Constitution, accepted by my colleagues today, we will soon find ourselves prohibited from using our album
of patriotic songs in many public settings. ‘God Bless America’ and ‘America The Beautiful’ will be gone for sure, and while use of the first three stanzas of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ will still be permissible, we will be precluded from straying into the fourth. And currency beware! Judges can accept those results if they limit themselves to elements and tests, while failing to look at the good sense and principles that animated those tests in the first place. But they do so at the price of removing a vestige of the awe we all must feel at the immenseness of the universe and our own small place within it, as well as the wonder we must feel at the good fortune of our country. That will cool the febrile nerves of a few at the cost of removing the healthy glow conferred upon many citizens when the forbidden verses, or phrases, are uttered, read, or seen.

In short, I cannot accept the eliding of the simple phrase ‘under God’ from our Pledge of Allegiance, when it is obvious that its tendency to establish religion in this country or to interfere with the free exercise (or non-exercise) of religion is de minimis [of minimal importance].”

Newdow v. US (65 KB) , partial concurrence and partial dissent, June 26, 2002

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Judge, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1989-present
  • Judge, Central District of California, US District Court, 1985-1989
  • Judge, Superior Court, San Bernardino County, CA, 1980-1985
  • Attorney, private practice, 1964-1980
  • Law Clerk, Judge William M. Byrne, Central District of California, US District Court, 1963-1964
  • LLM, Harvard University, 1963
  • JD, University of Southern California Law School, 1962
  • BS, University of Southern California, 1958
  • Born in Pasadena, CA
Quoted in:
  1. Is the Pledge of Allegiance a Religious Exercise?