October 16, 2003

tinfoil/pledge

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at October 16, 2003 4:41 PM Put on your tinfoil hats; I've got a new conspiracy theory.

A number of commentators have pointed out that the timing of the Pledge of Allegiance case, to be decided by the Supreme Court in June, will make it a campaign issue. But it seems that this is only true for one possible outcome. Suppose the 9th Circuit decision is overturned. The 10% or so of us who, not being under any God, are by implication not real Americans will bitch and moan, but otherwise I think things will seem "back to normal" and most people won't get worked up about it. But if Michael Newdow wins and the 9th Circuit's decision is affirmed - well, we saw what happened last time. Some 80% of the population driven into a frothing rage by their religious bigotry. Only in the latter case do we have a real campaign issue.

So now we ask: Why did Antonin Scalia recuse himself from the Pledge case? Well, because he publicly stated his opinion on the case before it came before the court. But he's a smart guy - he would have known that making those comments would create pressure for him to recuse himself. If it's an issue he feels strongly about, why put himself in a position where he may not be able to contribute to the ruling, in a court where the 5-4 Bush v. Gore split is a common occurrence?

Maybe there are issues he feels more strongly about.

Bush has indicated that Scalia is at the top of his list for the next Chief Justice, and has said he'd like to appoint more judges like him. This makes it very easy, with America going bonkers after a 4-4 tie lets the 9th Circuit ruling stand, for Bush to point to his favorite judge and say, "Re-elect me and I'll make sure decisions like this don't happen." Scalia has conveniently set the stage for the Pledge to be a campaign issue, and for Bush to be on the right side of it in a way no Democrat can match. And in return, he gets to be Chief Justice.

This court appointed Bush to the presidency once. Why wouldn't they do it again?

Last year I heard Michael Newdow give a talk on campus. I really liked him, and I agree 100% with his position. Nevertheless, I hope he loses at the Supreme Court. Sure, "under God" in the Pledge is asinine, but it's mostly symbolic. It doesn't even hold a candle to the damage that would be caused by a second term of George W. Bush. Tags:
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