Source: Los Angeles Times
On September 29, 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that "the Supreme Court meets behind closed doors today to consider more than 2,000 appeals that arrived during the summer, none messier or potentially more significant than the case of the Pledge of Allegiance and the Sacramento-area father who wants the words "under God" removed from it. At one level, the pledge case asks the most basic questions about the role of religion in American public life: Is this indeed "one nation, under God?" And should schoolchildren be called upon by law to recite that belief each day? But at another level, the case raises a quite different but also potentially far-reaching question: Does a parent -- and in this instance, a noncustodial father -- have a legal right to sue in federal court seeking to change what is said or taught in the public schools? Last year, Michael A. Newdow, an unemployed emergency room physician who also earned a law degree from the University of Michigan, won on both issues before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled in 2002 that the reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance violates the 1st Amendment, which says, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion....'"