I pledge allegiance to the flag of United States of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under the God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
By President Eisenhower, 1954
The research paper observes reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in the light of case Elk Grove United School District v. Newdow. Also, it determines America Pledge of Allegiance as the patriotic and social issue rather than religious indoctrination. The case raises some doubtful questions referred to the pledge reciting. Moreover, this work observes the religious and social direction of the Pledge of Allegiance and determines whether it is significant to recite it at school or not.
Before observance of the main points of the case, it is important to underline the reasons why the case appeared. Accordingly to the case statements Newdow, the childs father is an atheist, thus, he disagreed with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school. The main reason of his disagreement was the words ...under God... cited in text of the pledge. This issue reasoned long juridical processes that reached the USA Supreme Court.
The initial form of the Pledge of Allegiance was created in 1892. Since that time the pledge was changed several times. However, the meaning of the pledge remains the same. It appeared in its final draft in 1954. President Eisenhower introduced latest changes, providing the arguing phrase into the text of the pledge. Nowadays, the Pledge of Allegiance concerns liberties, and patriotism statements. Pupils all over the country recite it every day they go to school.
Case Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow
The Supreme Court was the final institution that solved an accident appeared between Elk Grove Unified School District and Newdow. The point of the case was that Newdow, protecting his parental right to direct daughters religious education, protested the schools rule to cite the Pledge of Allegiance (Cline, 2002).
The point of accident depends on the fact that Newdow is an atheist, hence, he disagreed that his daughter was prompted to pronounce under God words every single day while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. He was presumed that these words make prejudice effect on his child. Moreover, he insisted that even listening not saying these words violates the establishment clause of the USA Constitution.
Admittedly, during the case it became clear that Newdow was deprived of parental rights. Therefore, the childs mother, Sandra Banning, was the only childs custodian. She was established by the State Court to be a sole legal custodian of the child.
Newdow has appealed to courts of different levels, and finally filled a notion to Supreme Court. According to the appeared custodian nuances, the Supreme Court implemented the salient points. The first point is that the father had standing to sue on his daughter behalf as a next friend. The next friend notion in common law means a person who represents the other person rights and interests in the court because of absence of legal capacity or disability to maintain a suit of own behalf.
According to American law, if a person is unable to protect his\her own interests, the court would appoint to represent that persons legal interest. In jurisprudence, there is a list of requirements for the person who wants to represent somebodys legal interests in the courtroom (Education Law, 2012).
However, Newdow was deprived the right to be his daughters next friend. It depended on divorce with childs mother and previously deprived parental rights. The second point of the case referred the constitutional basis of the Pledge of Allegiance. According to this statement, previously District Court has dismissed Newdows complain.
The third point of Newdows case was the difference between courts decisions. The Ninth Circuit was ruled by California law. Thus, the court retained the father a right to indicate particular religious views to his daughter even if he remains noncustodial parent.
Moreover, the Ninth Circuit reversed that the school districts policy violates the establishment clause of the USA Constitution. Accordingly, Newdow challenged the practice that obstructs his parental right to direct daughters religious education. Therefore, according to the decision of Ninth Circuit based on California law, the petitioner was retained the right to seek redress for his own parental interests (Prouser, 2005).
Despite Newdow was approved to retain daughters and his own rights in the court, the fourth point of the case dependent on the lack of prudential standing Newdow obtained to sue the Federal Court against school districts policy (Cline, 2002). The fifth point of the case was directly connected to the fourth point. The appeal to Federal Court turned out to be a domestic case, after Mrs. Banning insisted that the Family Court has authorized her to be a sole legal custodian of the child.
It depended on the fact that the mother was authorized to exercise legal control over the child, but father retained a right to impact on his daughters religious indoctrination. Relating to this case, Newdows right was broken because his rights could not be observed in isolation, but only in prospect of his daughters rights.
The sixth point of the case depended on the fact that Newdows interests were not in parallel with his childs interests. Moreover, their interests were in a great conflict. However, Newdows parental status was protected by law. Family court recognizes noncustodial and custodial parents able to impact on childs religious education. Admittedly, California family court has stranded that the parents have rights to reach the private parental sphere, but cannot dictate the others what they allowed or not allowed to do. However, the next friend has the right to impact on the outside spheres of child education. Nevertheless, the family courts order refused Michael Newdow of that status.
The Levels of the Court Through Which the Case Evolved Before It Reached the Supreme Court
The court system of the USA includes variety of juridical branches of state and federal governments. The USA court system includes two administratively separate systems. Therefore, the court system of America is divided into state and federal. They are independent of legislative and executive branches of government.
Thus, the USA has dual court system, which turned out to be a heritage of the colonial period. It depends on each of thirteen regions had its comprehensive court systems, based on English sample before the first USA Constitution was managed. Thus, two parallel court systems grew side by side in the country (Education Law, 2012).
The Constitution of USA authorizes the federal court with specific powers. It is established that all the power not delegated to federal government remains with the state. It is evident, that each of states has its own Constitution, judiciary, governmental structure, and legal codes (Prouser, 2005). The USA Constitution provides federal courts with particular power and specifies federal government. It worth noting, federal courts deal with particular cases relating federal laws, foreign governments, and controversies between states. In certain areas, federal courts share their jurisdiction with state courts.
Before the case reaches the Supreme Court, it must undergo through some definite juridical procedures in courts of different levels. Depending on particularity of the case, first it goes to District Courts or to Court of Appeals. These two types of courts represent different branches of jurisdiction. The other levels of courts are Courts of Appeal and Federal Circuit, respectively. If the cases are not agreed by these courts, the next level to complain is Supreme Court.
It goes without saying that application to Supreme Court is long-time and complicated process. The case must previously deal with lower levels of court system before it reaches the Supreme Court. The case was observed in District Court, State Court, and Ninth Circuit Court before it was observed in Supreme Court. Previously, the case of this family was also discussed in Family Court, where mother was authorized as the sole legal custodial. The case had reached a number of different courts levels before it reached the Supreme Court.
The Decision of the Supreme Court in this Case
The Supreme Court held that the father is not able to control outside spheres of childs education. Moreover, he is not allowed to say others what they may or may not do. Nendows claim was not satisfied by Supreme Court. The courts decision mainly depended on the previous deprivation of parental rights provided by the USA Family Court. This fact identified that Nendow cannot be next friend of his daughter, thus, he was refused standing to sue on his daughters interests
Despite the case was approved in previous levels of court system, the family courts resolution turned out to be a key element of the case. The decision of Ninth Circuit was reversed by Supreme Court as a matter of procedural law (Bowen, 2008). Thus, the Supreme Court did not consider constitutionally questions rise in the case.
The Fundamental Impact that the Court Decision Has Had on American Society
The court decision has had a great impact either on American society or ethics in American society. It mainly depends on some questions the case has raised:
- Was Newdow able stand to challenge the public school policy?
- Do words of Pledge of Allegiance violate the establishment clause of the USA Constitution?
The debates related Supreme Courts decision proved that the society represents doubtful treatment to this situation. As the matter of fact, majority of respondents supported cheaters requiring to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
The judge from Ninth Circuit of Appeal remarked that the phrase that we are ...one Nation under the God... determines the facts that no matter what religious believes the person has or in what god one beliefs, people living in the USA are proclaimed by Pledge of Allegiance to be one nation. Despite the fact that society agree and disagree with the Supreme Courts decision, majority of citizens find it useful to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school.
The Supreme Court decision prompted people to think over the meaning of school well-bringing and parental ambitions. Currently, parental rights to impact on the children religious education are protected and provided by juridical principles. Admittedly, there are cases, when parental and childrens interests have conflict features.
The tradition to recite Pledge of Allegiance seemed to be an innocent sign of patriotic moods. However, the case Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow displayed the other side of the coin. In the scale of the nation this case is not considered to be a big problem. Thus, it leads to many doubts, discussions, and hesitations.
Is the Pledge of Allegiance a Religious Issue or a Sign of Respect for the United States?
Each nation and country exists due to people who love, save, and protects its customs, traditions, believes, and integrity. In the other words, the national trait of the country is provided by patriots and people who love their motherland. Bringing up patriotic moods and breed the love to native land is a responsible duty of the country.
As the matter of fact, it is significant for USA schools to provide reciting of Pledge of Allegiance. It mainly depends on the fact that this process makes children understand the meaning of the words they recite. Moreover, the collective reciting strengthens the effect of the words. From childhood, children start to understand the power of State, the unity of people living in the country no matter to what nation they belong. Admittedly, pronouncing the words ...with liberty and justice for all of the Pledge of Allegiance, children accept the State as fair, liable, and equal institution for all people living there.
As a matter of fact, the words of Pledge of Allegiance are not religious issues. It is a sign of respect for the flag particularly and the country symbols generally. The words of the pledge emphasize that the pledge is devoted to the Flag, the symbol of huge country. The Flag is a national symbol that demonstrates some symbolic elements. It is well-known that the flag of the USA represents stars and stripes.
Fifty white stars represent fifty American states. Thirteen red and white horizontal stripes mean the number of British colonies that declared independence from United Kingdom of Great Britain. Therefore, when children recite the words I pledge allegiance to the flag of the USA and the Republic for which it stands... they understand a fundamental power and mightiness of State that would protect not only its own interests, but the interests of Republics for which it stands.
The other phrase from the Pledge of Allegiance demonstrates its foundation elements for civil society... with liberty and justice for all. What does this mean? It is evident that the main point of Pledge of Allegiance is to demonstrate patriotic moods and respect to the Country for which it is devoted. In the light of the case studied, phrase One Nation under God has got a religious context. Admittedly, the main point of this phrase is to demonstrate that people leaving in America, despite their citizenship or faith, are Americans. They must be treated, protected, and supported by the state equally.
Should Public Schools Be Allowed to Recite the Pledge?
As the matter of fact, United States of America was established by association of colonies and surrounding settlements that have separated from United Kingdom. In the light of these issues, the reciting of Pledge of Allegiance is some way to make children remember that the USA was founded due to collaborative efforts of separate nations that had different customs, traditions, outlooks, but they have the same aim. It is the way to make children understand that they are unique, independent, and free (Bowen, 2008).
Thus, living in the USA, being American, they have the support and favor of their country. Moreover, if teachers explain some historical events after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, it would teach children coexist, cooperate, put and achieve common goals. Thus, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance seems to have much more advantages than disadvantages.
The research paper observes the main issues related the case observed in the Supreme Court of America. This work identifies the Pledge of Allegiance as a statement of patriotism that teaches pupils principals of individualism, freedom, and justice that underpin the USA. Relating to the case studied, the research paper observes main points of the Pledge of Allegiance considering it from religious and patriotic points of view. In light of the case, it is seen that the father was following his own interests and did not consider daughters rights and prefers.
Moreover, reciting the pledge is a schools tradition that takes place all over the country. Thus, considering the Supreme Court decision, opinions of many pupils and their parents, it is possible to say, that the Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the established clauses of USA Constitution. Moreover, it does not indoctrinate religious views of American pupils.