RELEASE: Palazzo Applauds Ruling Upholding ‘Under God’ in Pledge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4), recently applauded a court ruling that upholds the right of school children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, including the phrase “under God.” Last year, Palazzo led an amicus brief with Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7) and 36 colleagues defending the rights of school children to recite the pledge in the case of Doe v. Acton-Boxborough School District. The American Humanist Association, an atheist advocacy group, sought to overturn the Pledge in the lawsuit, claiming that the words “under God” were unconstitutional.

“The court ruling affirms what I believe is clear to most Americans: our indisputable heritage as a nation that recognizes God is consistent with the U.S. Constitution,” Palazzo stated. “While I am pleased school children will be able to continue reciting the pledge, I am saddened that we must even fight these battles. Had the plaintiffs won in this case, it could have set a precedent for removing the words “under God” from the pledge altogether. We must continue to stand strong against those whose sole mission seems to be removing all reference to God from the public sphere.”

Former attacks on the Pledge have claimed that the words “under God” violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, but plaintiffs in Doe v. Acton-Boxborough School District took a different approach by arguing that it violated equal protection language in Massachusetts state law. Essentially, plaintiffs argued that the words “under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance because they claim the phrase gives favoritism for one religious creed and therefore denies atheists and others equal protection under the law. Defendants included the school district, parents, and students wishing to continue reciting the Pledge in its current form. They argued that those who object to the Pledge in its current form can choose not to recite it, rather than strip away that right from all students. The amicus brief that was filed with the Court last year included signatures of 38 Members of Congress.

In 2002, Congress reaffirmed its commitment to the Pledge and its reference to the United States’ historic legacy as “one Nation under God.”

The congressional co-signers in the original amicus brief are listed below:

· Robert Aderholt (AL)

· Michele Bachmann (MN)

· Andy Barr (KY)

· Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (LA)

· Steve Chabot (OH)

· Michael K. Conaway (TX)

· Kevin Cramer (ND)

· Jeff Duncan (SC)

· John Fleming (LA)

· J. Randy Forbes (VA)

· Trent Franks (AZ)

· Scott Garrett (NJ)

· Gregg Harper (MS)

· Vicky Hartzler (MO)

· Tim Huelskamp (KS)

· Randy Hultgren (IL)

· Walter B. Jones (NC)

· Mike Kelly (PA)

· James Lankford (OK)

· Robert E. Latta (OH)

· Billy Long (MO)

· Mike McIntyre (NC)

· Jeff Miller (FL)

· Randy Neugebauer (TX)

· Alan Nunnelee (MS)

· Steven Palazzo (MS)

· Steve Pearce (NM)

· Bill Posey (FL)

· Phil Roe (TN)

· Matt Salmon (AZ)

· Chris Stewart (UT)

· Steve Stockman (TX)

· Lee Terry (NE)

· Tim Walberg (MI)

· Randy Weber (TX)

· Lynn A. Westmoreland (GA)

· Joe Wilson (SC)

· Frank Wolf (VA)

5/12/13