Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE QUERY(S): Let's say the Supreme Court upholds the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Elk Grove School District v. Nedow, and it becomes unconstitutional across the country for public schools to start the day off with the pledge of allegiance if it includes the phrase "under God." What happens then?

* Public schools become a pledge-free zone, just like they're now a prayer-free zone, but the pledge, complete with "under God," continues to run wild elsewhere: private and religious schools, the Congress, flag-factories. So we get to keep the pledge, with all it's attendant religious establishment and/or ceremonial deism, but vulnerable public school children will (deo gratias) be protected from its pernicious doctrines.


* Public schools will continue to begin the morning with the pledge of allegiance, albeit one purged of the offending phrase.

If it's the latter (which I think more likely) this raises other questions. Will everyone start using the new, abridged pledge? Or will a two-track system develop, in which the public schools use one pledge and other institutions use another? (For a parallel, think of the Catholic and Protestant versions of the Lord's Prayer.) And, if public schools start using the new "clipped" pledge, what happens if kids start voluntarily inserting "under God" back in? Are schools going to start punishing those pint-sized civil disobedients? Would that violate the Establishment Clause?