After losing the June 14, 2004 US Supreme Court case Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow
(AKA Newdow v. Congress
) by an 8-0 vote
(5-3 on standing grounds), Michael Newdow (Newdow) filed this suit as another attempt to ban the recitation of the the US Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.
The US Supreme Court ruled in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow
that Newdow "lacked prudential standing" to challenge his daughter's school district's Pledge of Allegiance policy in federal court. The US Supreme Court's prudential standing jurisprudence rule prohibits a single litigant from raising another person's legal rights. To avoid this standing issue from occurring again, Newdow refiled the case seven months later with three anonymous families as co-plaintiffs.
The defendants included the Rio Linda Union School District, the United States as a defendant-intervenor, and a group of private defendant intervenors, with John Carey as lead intervenor, are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
On Sep. 14, 2005, District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled in favor
of the Plaintiffs. Appeals were taken to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and consolidated
on Feb. 24, 2006. Briefing
was completed on Sep. 5, 2006. Oral arguments took place in San Francisco, CA, on Dec. 4, 2007. A separate lawsuit filed by Newdow targeting the words "In God We Trust" on US currency was argued on the same day by the same panel of judges.
On June 2, 2009, ProCon.org staff spoke to Michael Newdow. He confirmed that a decision had not been made in either of his cases. On June 4, 2009, ProCon.org staff called the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' Clerk's Office. A docket clerk informed us that "nobody knows" when the panel would announce its judgment for Newdow v. Carey
Michael Newdow wrote the following statement to ProCon.org during a June 9, 2009 email exchange regarding the expected date of a decision on this case:
"There are no deadlines for federal judges, so they are permitted to take as long as they choose to decide the cases they hear. Last time, the decision was announced three months after oral arguments were heard. This time, it's been over 18 months since the oral arguments, and there still is no decision. Why that is, is anyone's guess. Litigants have no more knowledge about such delays than anyone else."
On Mar. 11, 2010, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion
, rejecting in a 2-1 ruling Newdow's attempt to remove the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. The federal appeals court's decision, that the US Pledge of Allegiance as worded is constitutional, overrules District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton's 2005 ruling in Newdow's favor.