Wednesday, January 28, 2009

11th Circuit Denies En Banc Review In Pledge Recital Case

On Monday, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, over one dissent, refused to grant en banc review in Frazier v. Alexandre, (11th Cir., Jan. 26, 2009). In the case, a 3-judge panel upheld the constitutionality of a Florida statute requiring schools to excuse a student from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance upon written request of the student's parent, regardless of the student's desires. The panel held that the legislature can act to enforce a parent's right to control the upbringing of his or her children. (See prior posting.) Dissenting from the refusal to reconsider the decision, Judge Barkette argued: "holding that the State of Florida can compel students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in violation of their personal beliefs directly contravenes precedent that has been firmly entrenched for over 65 years ... [T]he State ... lacks the capacity to delegate to parents the power to compel this speech." Yesterday's Fulton County (GA) Daily Report discusses the court's denial of review.