Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Newdow Lawsuit Challenges Inaugural Oath and Invocation [UPDATED]

A press release from the American Humanist Association reports that a lawsuit was filed on Dec. 30 in Washington, D.C. federal district court challenging two elements of the upcoming inauguration ceremony planned for Barack Obama. The complaint (full text and links to Appendices) in Newdow v. Roberts, (D DC, filed 12/29/2008) asks the court to enjoin the Chief Justice-- who will administer the oath of office-- from adding "so help me God" to the constitutionally prescribed presidential oath (Art. II, Sec. 1). It also asks the court to declare unconstitutional the use of clergy to deliver an invocation and benediction. Plaintiffs allege that both of these practices violate the Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In addition to the Chief Justice, defendants include the Presidential Inaugural Committee and its leaders, and the clergy scheduled to take part in the ceremony. Some 40 individuals and organizations-- atheist and secular humanist in belief-- are named as plaintiffs. On the crucial issue of standing, the complaint alleges:

Under the Establishment Clause, Plaintiffs have a right to view their government in action without being forced to confront official endorsements of religious dogma with which they disagree. This is especially the case when that dogma stigmatizes them in the process.

Being forced to confront such religious dogma as the price to pay for observing a governmental ceremony is a substantial burden upon Plaintiffs’ rights of Free Exercise as well.

The Examiner carries a posting commenting on the filing. Volokh Conspiracy has extensive commentary on the lawsuit.

18 comments:

Supremacy Claus said...

Who will be the lawyer of Roberts? I hope they have to hire an expensive law firm that busts the budget of the criminal cult enforcers. It would be great to get the injunction and have marshals clasp Roberts in irons if he utters the forbidden words. San Fran perv values against DC false piety.

KipEsquire said...

Newdow would achieve far more if he devoted his energies to exposing the lie that it was Washington who appended "so help me God" to the oath. Flat.Out.Lie.

Supremacy Claus said...

Prof. Volokh cites Marsh v Chambers as precluding this claim. However, the SC reverses itself about 1 to 2% of the time. The decision is 25 years old and contradicts the plain language of the Establishment Clause. If the Court certs it, it would likely be to reverse Marsh. Roberts said, he would respect precedent, at his confirmation hearing. That means he will be a great destroyer of precedent.

If it comes before the SC, shouldn't all the criminal cult enforcers recuse themselves as knowing the defendant, letting stand the lower court decision?

Supremacy Claus said...

Naturally, the most important issue of this case is going over the heads of criminal cult indoctrination victims. You can sue and enjoin the Chief Justice of the SC for conduct within the scope of his duties.

Gib Wallis said...

This would be a great way to trump the Rick Warren appointment, and keep the religiosity out of the Oval Office.

I doubt it will gain traction before January 20th, but the points are very interesting.

(BTW: directed here by www.KipEsquire.com )

Supremacy Claus said...

The language of the Establishment Clause is clear, and written below high school level reading. Either it gets obeyed as written, or the judge is rebelling against it.

The arguments that a tradition exists is false, and pretextual to avoid a confrontation with the Executive. That argument is political, and unlawful. The European immigrants sought to escape the tradition of religious persecution. Atavism has no validity as a legal argument nor as a scientific argument. We know from experience, that everything we know, believe, and habitually do will likely be proven false, and rejected. The longer the legal tradition, the greater the likelihood of its wrongfulness.

Simon said...

As presumptuous as it may be for me to offer litigation strategy to any Chief Justice of the United States, let alone one with John Roberts' pedigree, surely the court must wait on the chief's answer, and, assuming service today, the chief has until January 21st to file that. Fed. Rs. Civ. P. 12(a)(1) and 6(a). And this case will become moot shortly after midday on January 20th. A great deal of tension can be avoided simply by a specifically timely answer followed by a 12(b)(6) motion?

carol said...

Washington did use a Bible..and his inaugural speech as well as presidents who followed after him acknowledged God...he said 'No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.'...we are BOUND...pretty clear.

Anonymous said...

Invoking God's blessing has been with us from the Declaration to the present time and was carried on even in legislation proposed by the likes of Jefferson and Madison that was intended to prohibit government establishment of religion.

Reason (and reading Jefferson's Virgina Act for Religious Freedom, Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance, and other contemporary texts) leads one to the conclusion that invoking "God Almighty", "the Creator", the "Universal Sovereign", or other such references to the divine do not violate the Establishment Clause.

Moreover the Oath of Office includes the word "swear" which by definition has reference to God. That an option to "affirm" rather than "swear" is present simply highlights that "swear" was meant in the usual sense of invoking God. Those whose religious convictions would not allow them to "swear", could instead "affirm".

Mike Hansberry

Anonymous said...

It is not the fact that we Christians think we are better. In fact we are all created equal under God. Our fear is that you none believers will spend eternity separated from God (Hell). We will continue to pray for you and hope a day will come when you repent of your sins and put you faith in Christ.

God Bless you

Anonymous said...

I'm bothered by the fact that prayers have been banned from schools and religious symbols such as the ten commandments have been removed from state and local government buildings yet federal government maintains the right to religion. Do our federal officials have some right to religion that the rest of us do not? Religion is a matter of choice in this country and the constitution that all Americans abide by calls for separation of church and state. If it applies to one, it applies to all.

Anonymous said...

I find its funny newdow and all these othere atheist groups think there rights are the omly ones veiolated. Ibet Obama has things to say i dont agree with . but i wount fill my lawsuit yet

Anonymous said...

newdow is a moron

Supremacy Claus said...

I doubt that lawyer Obama has any sincere belief or loyalty save to the criminal cult enterprise, and its sole aim, rent seeking.

The show, utterances, and objects of religiosity are a false display for the appearance of virtue. The coronation style ritual with religious trappings implies endorsement of the executive by God.

That is pretty offensive to the Establishment Clause. The Presidential oath comes from the Constitution, with no religious reference.

It shows another self-dealt immunity of the lawyer. Judges have a bias the strongly favors government. The government is their employer, and a wholly owned subsidiary of the criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession. The judges have an irremediable conflict of interest. Members of the jury pool or puking bums with alcoholic dementia from the street could replace these cult criminals, for an immediate upgrade in the logic and clarity of appellate decisions.

Anonymous said...

I am a christian but enough is enough, just give me five minutes with this F***ing moron! Newdow, why don`t you just go hang out with your buddy Chavez, you leftwing S.O.B.!

Supremacy Claus said...

Anon 12:21: There is no legal recourse, nor any ordinary fairness or justice in the US. The legal system, the laws, and the courts, all the paid-for chattel of the public, have been unlawfully taken over by the lawyer profession.

You can think of the profession as an organized crime entity, only the smartest, richest, and most powerful in human history. It controls 99% of the policy decisions of the US government. It is the first Mafia that has nuclear weapons. Elected officials are mostly members, but it does not matter. They are figureheads no matter their backgrounds. The political affiliations of lawyer, judges, or legislators is a marginal and superficial difference.

The main business is rent seeking, a synonym for theft at the point of a gun. Try resisting the order of one these criminals, Army Air Airborne shows up at the house to help you comply.

These internal traitors give no quarter, especially to minority crime victims. Why does the lawyer love evil, enable, protect, immunize evil? Evil is a client. Black crime victims generate no fee. Street justice against the hierarchy of this criminal cult enterprise has full moral and intellectual justification.

Evil has patience. I guarantee that Newdow's points will become the law eventually. The government will defund and destroy all competing sources of authority, such as productive males, church, family, school.

Anonymous said...

"Our fear is that you none believers will spend eternity separated from God (Hell)."

Don't kid yourself; if Christianity is true, people like you are going to hell. When Christ said that people would be saved by believing in him and that they should spread the word, he didn't mean the kind of turpitude and insanity that evangelical Christianity practices.

You worry about your salvation, and I worry about mine. I am quite certain that, no matter what label you put on it, I don't want to go to the same place as people like you.

Or, to put it in the words of the Bible: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

Andrew said...

The religion clause will always be a sticky point for me. Especially when it reals with the oath and invocation. These are traditions that go back hundreds of years. I wrote about america's godly heritage and what it means to me here. thanks for posting this...