The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would strip federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, of jurisdiction over cases on the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance or its recitation—a measure that would block challenges to the pledge in public schools.
The House passed the bill 260-167. A parallel bill has been introduced in the Senate.
The bill came in response to a 2002 decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco. The court ruled that the inclusion of the words “under God” in the pledge was an unconstitutional government establishment of religion, and that public schools should not lead recitations of it.
In 2004, the Supreme Court decision in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow reversed that ruling on a technicality. The plaintiff in the case is pursuing another, similar legal challenge. (“New Challenge to Pledge in Schools Filed,” Jan. 12, 2005.)
A version of this article appeared in the July 26, 2006 edition of Education Week