OU Welcomes Supreme Court Decision Reversing Ruling Against Pledge

Posted on June 14, 2004 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations welcomed this morning’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court reversing a California federal court’s declaration that the inclusion of the phrase “under God” contained in the Pledge of Allegiance was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The eight justices participating in the case unanimously agreed that the plaintiff, Michael Newdow, lacked “standing,” the legal right, to bring the case on behalf of his daughter due to his lack of custody for his daughter resulting from his divorce from the girl’s mother. Chief Justice Rhenquist and Justices O’Connor and Thomas wrote separate opinions also stating, each for different reasons, that they each believe the phrase “under God” is constitutional and does not constitute an “establishment” of religion.

The UOJCA had joined other Orthodox Jewish groups in filing a “friend of the court” brief in the case in support of the inclusion of the phrase in the Pledge.

Nathan J. Diament, the UOJCA’s director of public policy, issued the following statement:

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations welcomes today’s ruling by the Supreme Court. While the basis of the Court’s opinion was more procedural than substantive, and while we agree with some of the substantive arguments articulated by the concurring Justices, the result is the same – that the phrase “under God” may remain in the Pledge.
Most importantly, this result is in keeping with a critical consensus in America – for the appropriate role of religion in our public square and against those who drive religion from the public square in the name of secularism. This consensus was reflected in the overwhelming votes in Congress which denunciated the lower court’s ruling against the Pledge, and continues to be reflected in the civil and serious debate in the current presidential election campaign and elsewhere seeking to find the right role and balance for religion in America’s public life.