Friday, May 20, 2005

Pledge of Allegiance

House Considers Protecting the Pledge
by Bill Wilson, Washington, D.C. correspondent

Congress moves to insulate "under God" in the pledge of allegiance from activist judges.

A member of the House has introduced legislation that would take away from the nation's courts the power to rule on the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Article III Section 2 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to place certain limits on the courts. And that's just what Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri intends to do.

"You can say the pledge if you want to," he said. "But obviously, I think we've gone too far if the court starts to use the First Amendment to say that kids cannot say something… instead of to protect free speech. That's why we're taking this action."

Last year, the Supreme Court considered whether schoolchildren should be allowed to say the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. In the end, the high court dodged the issue, declaring that the plaintiff, Michael Newdow, did not have standing. That effectively left "under God" in the pledge.

There is bi-partisan support for Akin's bill and North Carolina Congressman Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., said it's time the courts are prevented from excising God from the pledge.

"The appellate courts," he said, "should not—and will not under this law—get away with removing Him from our most sacred, patriotic vow, the Pledge of Allegiance."

Akin believes his legislation can stand up to challenges by those who want to remove God from the public square.

"First of all, they have to overthrow that entire current practice and ignore the Constitution," he said, " But when they get done doing those two things, they run smack dab into the pledge. And do you really want to be out in front on the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Both Congressmen see strong House support for the bill, which already has about 150 cosponsors.

The Senate will be more challenging, but Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., has agreed to champion the bill.

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