Phyllis Schlafly

Federal court decisions about the Pledge of Allegiance and the Ten Commandments, and the specter raised by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence vs. Texas that marriage may no longer be defined as the union of a man and a woman, show that the time has come to curb the "Imperial Judiciary."

Not only did a single federal judge overturn a nearly 60 percent majority of California voters who passed Proposition 187 in 1994, but another U.S. District Court judge in Sacramento actually considered canceling the historic California gubernatorial recall election before declining to act on a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers 78, 81 and 82 that he expected Congress to use its "discretion" to make appropriate "exceptions and regulations" to keep the judiciary "the least dangerous" of the three branches of government. It's long past time for Congress to protect U.S. citizens from activist judges who are assaulting fundamental American principles.

When the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by 2-1 banned the pledge of Allegiance on June 26, 2002, because of the words "under God," Congress on the same day adopted resolutions of appropriate indignation in a House vote of 416-3 and a Senate vote of 99-0.

When the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider this outrageous decision, the Senate on March 4, 2003, reaffirmed its support for the pledge as written by a vote of 94-0, and the House did likewise on March 20, 2003, by a vote of 400-7.

Two cheers for Congress. But that's not enough to fulfill its constitutional duty to demote the federal courts to their proper status.

Congress has failed to solve the pledge problem, and federal judges haven't gotten the message.

In July, one federal judge barred Pennsylvania teachers from obeying a state law that required them to lead their classes in reciting the pledge or singing the national anthem. In August, another federal judge banned a Colorado law requiring public school teachers to lead the pledge.

Public opinion has always been strongly in favor of schoolchildren reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis' veto of a state law requiring teachers to lead the pledge helped to elect George H.W. Bush to the presidency in 1988.

If there ever was a case where Congress should act promptly to withdraw jurisdiction from the federal courts, this is it. U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., already has 220 co-sponsors for H.R. 2028, the proposed Pledge Protection Act. A companion bill in the Senate is sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo.

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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