July 31, 2002
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
ATTORNEYS GENERAL CALL FOR RECONSIDERATION OF PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that the attorneys
general of 48 states, including Maryland, and two territories have
called upon the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a controversial
decision in which a panel of three judges declared the Pledge of
a letter to the Clerk of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the
attorneys general voiced support for the State of Californias
request for reconsideration. "We offer this letter of support
to memorialize our conviction that the decision entered in this
case is legally flawed and the matter should be reheard by an en
banc panel," the 50 attorneys general wrote.
ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court was both extremely unpopular and
flat out wrong," Attorney General Curran said. "The Establishment
Clause was written because our founding fathers did not want the
United States government to adopt an official church. The Pledge
of Allegiance most certainly does not violate that concern."
50 attorneys general noted that, without specifically deciding the
issue, the United States Supreme Court commented on the Pledge of
Allegiances reference to God in a 1989 case, County of Allegheny
v. ACLU. "Our previous opinions have considered in dicta the
motto and the pledge," the Supreme Court wrote, "characterizing
them as consistent with the proposition that government may not
communicate an endorsement of religious belief."
"This statement deserves careful attention," the attorneys
general wrote. "It explicitly mentions the pledge of allegiance
and comments favorably upon its application to the Establishment
Clause. Moreover, it reflects an accurate reading of Supreme Court
decisions that should provide the framework for an analysis of the
issue before this court."