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« on: September 25, 2004, 06:27:50 PM »

(My Note:  YES!!!! - We, the people, make the law of the land - NOT OUR COURTS! Maybe this is the beginning of getting our courts out of the business of religious persecution

House Approves Pledge Protection Act

by Mary Rettig and Jenni Parker
September 24, 2004

(AgapePress) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to pass a bill that would strip the federal courts -- even up to the highest court in the land -- of the authority to remove the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Pledge Protection Act, which passed the House on a 247-to-173 vote, was designed to prevent any federal court, including the Supreme Court, from ruling on whether the words "under God" should be stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance. This measure enacts what is sometimes called "jurisdiction stripping or curbing jurisdiction." Specifically, the act states that, "No court established by Act of Congress shall have jurisdiction to hear or determine any claim that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, as set forth in section 4 of title 4, violates the first article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States."

According to an Associated Press report, House Democrats objected to being forced to go on record with a vote that could hurt them in the upcoming election. But House Republican leaders say the Constitution gives Congress the authority to limit federal courts' jurisdiction, and that doing so in this case would protect an affirmation of God that is part of the national heritage. That claim has not been resolved in court.

A 'Much-Needed Step'
Pro-family groups are hailing the lawmakers' action. Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, remarked recently that the act is a much-needed step in the effort to "bring back common sense legal arguments to judicial decisions." But unfortunately, Weyrich says, "While we know that 'under God' should be in the Pledge, a measure like this needs to be placed into law to stop activist federal judges."

Brian Fahling  
Although some opponents claim the Constitution has been "debased" by the legislation, attorney Brian Fahling, senior policy advisor for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, points out that Congress acted completely within its authority -- and about time. In fact, Fahling says, in passing the Pledge Protection Act, Congress is "finally flexing its constitutional muscle" and has at last "taken a dramatic and necessary step toward restoring democratic rule in our nation." (Read Brian Fahling's commentary on this matter.)

Dr. Donald E. Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association, agrees that enacting the Republican-sponsored legislation was essential in order to protect the Pledge of Allegiance from those who would attempt to secularize it.

"I think it's time that the House and the Senate sent the Supreme Court a message loud and clear," Wildmon says, noting that, with this bill, that is just what the House has done. And the message it sends, he suggests, is this: "You are not the most powerful institution in this country. You are one of three, and we are tired of you stripping away rights which are reserved for the people.'"

Dr. Don Wildmon
The pro-family leader says this prerogative has been used several times before, including at least one time when it was invoked by a leading Democrat. "In fact," the AFA spokesman says, "none other than Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota used this particular part of the Constitution to protect [legislation from attack] from the federal judges in a bill that he had passed last year."

That is why Wildmon feels it is ludicrous that House Democrats are now attacking Republicans on the bill limiting the Supreme Court's authority to change the pledge when one of their own has proposed a similar idea in the interest of protecting legislation of which he approved.

Wildmon is commending the House of Representatives for its approval of the Pledge Protection Act. However, he notes that the measure still has to get through Senate, where it has little chance of advancing this year.



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