Skip to comments.Judge rules pledge law violates Constitution
Posted on 06/02/2006 4:16:41 AM PDT by FerdieMurphy
A federal judge has declared a state law requiring students to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp also declared students do not need a parent's permission to be excused from reciting the pledge, citing previous federal cases.
''It is a long-standing rule of constitutional law that a student may remain quietly seated during the pledge on grounds of personal or political belief,'' Ryskamp stated in his ruling based on a lawsuit filed by a Boynton Beach High School student who had refused to stand for the pledge.
Cameron Frazier, then a 17-year-old junior, was told by teacher Cynthia Alexandre that he was ''so ungrateful and so un-American'' after he twice refused to stand for the pledge in her classroom on Nov. 8, the lawsuit said.
Frazier's lawsuit did not challenge the recital of the pledge in Florida classrooms, only students' right not to participate.
Requiring Frazier to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance is ''in violation of his First and Fourth Amendment rights,'' the lawsuit said.
In February, the School Board voted to settle and agreed to pay Frazier $32,500.
But the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state Board of Education and state Education Commissioner John Winn, challenging a state law that says the pledge needs to be recited at the beginning of the day at all elementary, middle and high schools.
''This is a decision about freedom and freedom in America means your right to not recite the Pledge of Allegiance or your right to recite the Pledge of Allegiance,'' said Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida ACLU. ``The impact that we hope this decision will have is that school officials begin to respect the conscience and dignity of young people.''
The Pledge of Allegiance is recited every morning at all Miami-Dade County elementary and secondary schools.
However, students have a choice. They can stand or sit in silence if they choose not to recite it for religious or personal convictions, said Joseph Garcia, a spokesman for Miami Dade Public Schools.
''We prefer notes from parents,'' he said. ``But we will not discipline a child for not reciting it as long as they are not being disruptive.''
Broward County also offers its students the option of participating -- or not.
''The policy in Broward is we request students to say the pledge,'' said district spokesman Keith Bromery. ``If a student does not want to do it, all they are required to do is sit or stand quietly and not disrupt other students.''
Learning how to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is part of the Miami-Dade curriculum, Garcia said.
He added there have not been any problems with the School Board ruling in recent years.
''Our ruling conforms with federal and state statutes,'' Garcia said. ``[The Pledge of Allegiance] is going to be said in our school. Whether a student says it or not is a matter of the student's personal or religious conviction.''
Simon said that was in line with what the Supreme Court ruled in 1943.
''The Supreme Court ruled that a person can't be compelled to professing allegiance,'' he said. ``Their rule respects the right of the student.''
State Department of Education spokeswoman Cathy Schroeder said the department was ''disappointed'' with Ryskamp's decision and may appeal.
''Our attorneys are reviewing the ruling to see if any further action can be taken,'' Schroeder said.
Standing for the pledge indicates respect and how can the invaders respect a nation that is obviously such a patsy?
I'm of the opinion that our job isn't to force the kids to recite the pledge, but to make them want to recite the pledge.
Then they should apply this same logic to a "morning prayer". Opt in or opt out. BTW, judges suck.
What's ridiculous about it? It's consistent with legal precedent, and the right to say what you want certainly includes the right to not say what you don't want to.
When an education system is twisted by the machinations of the left into teaching young minds that European Americans killed, subjugated, and stole everything from everybody, everywhere, how can this same system expect students to pledge allegiance to this it. The ACLU is so sick it is suing members within its own league, the teachers union, albeit at our expense.
"U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp "
Appointed by Bush Sr.
Coming soon... ACLU files suit on behalf of children whose parents try to make them want to recite the pledge of allegiance.
To be able to do that "teachers" would have to teach American history in a positive light.
The precept that our Founding Fathers were nothing but "old dead white guys", unworthy of any adulation, comes with a price.
Odd, that the entity that they are refusing to pledge allegience to, is the one that protects their right not to recite it.
If I were a student, I'd personally would like to know who is supportive of America and who isn't. It makes it a lot easier to know what kids I would want to associate with and which ones get the sh*t kickout of if a situation would arise.
I was lucky. I had a 5th grade civics/social studies/homeroom teacher who added to the regular curriculum extra courses on American government and on our Constitution.
5th grade is when we're taught American History, for the first time, as a subject. Prior to then, tidbits of American History were taught in the context of other social study subjects. Without the extra courses, the social studies curriculum for that year would've only reinforced liberal revisionism of our history while not teaching anything about the fundamental documents that define our country.
So, yes - the problem is with the teachers. Forced recitation of the pledge has no meaning if those who recite it don't believe in it. Just as taking Holy Communion has no meaning if you aren't truly a believer or repentant.
Too bad the ACLU does not think this way about abortion, the gay agenda, and student prayer. The ACLU has no respect for the conscience and dignity of people they don't agree with.
It's better to have all of the communists seated during the pledge so they are more easily identified by the patriots.
I REALLY LIKE YOUR THINKING; WELL STATED.
Exactly one of the MAJOR problems in the whole system being used by Liberals today to forward their agenda.
Legal "precedent" is effectively becoming LEGISLATION FROM THE BENCH by Liberal Activist Judges, without vote of The People, by contorted and contrived interpretations of existing statute. Just because some jackass Liberal judge decides HE wants the law to mean "this" or "that", and thus establishes a "precedent" does not make it the Law of the Land as far as common sense reading and historical interpretation go.
So long as judges (like the Massachussettes Homosexual Marriage fiasco ruling) come along after 200 years of understanding and decree that the Law is "my interpretation for my agenda", then precedent means doodly-squat.
Yes, communists and the others not loyal to America should be noticed when they disrespect our country by refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Charles Frazier, the unAmerican student, should take his conscious to heart and walk out of the classroom and reject the FREE education that the country he disrespects provides for him. Why should we have to pay for this ungrateful snots education?
This judge should be removed from the bench. Unless this little demon can prove he bleongs to some religious cult the U.S. has mistakenly excused from pledging allegience like the Quakers or Jehovah's wintesses, the little brat should be forced to do so.
How can any nation survive by permitting its citizens to refuse pledging allegiance to said nation???
Prepare to be inundated with people who refuse to understand that:
along with the freedom to speak comes the freedom NOT to speak.
a 'pledge' of 'allegiance', or fealty, is an oath of subservience... exactly what the Founders refused to give to the King of England.
Why everyone thinks it's okey-dokey to make such an oath or affirmation to an artificial creation called 'government, I will never understand.
There's one worth repeating.
That being said, school prayer advocates may have a gripe.
Bush Sr is a liar, a faux-conservative, and a globalist One-Worlder.
He was a terrible president, and Reagan's only major mistake.
I would bet ANYTHING that the judge would fine any visitor to the court room who failed to stand when Hizzoner entered.
If I were to be in the court room, and refused to respect the judge because I thought he was a POS ... and I tried to exercise my "freedom of speech" to not stand and be respectful .... how big a "Contempt of Court" fine would be imposed on me?
Someone who is trying to defend the school's position ought to try the stunt ... then ask that the judge be recused from ruling on the case, since he would have shown himself to be a big-time hypocrite.
The ruling should stand only if judges agree that there should be no displays of respect in the court room, such as mandating people stand.
Just to be clear:
It's the constitution, not the flag, that protects the stdent's rights.
What exactly do you gain by forcing the kids to recite the pledge? Do you think they know what it means? Better to educate the kids on why having allegiance is a good and proper thing and then let them decide on their own.
Allegiance is in ones heart, not on the lips. reciting a pledge means nothing and forced patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
I'm of the opinion that our job isn't to force the kids to recite the pledge, but to make them want to recite the pledge.
Mindless recitation doesn't mean anything. Moreover, I happen to believe that it devalues the Pledge.
At the risk of being flamed into charcoal, I happen to agree with this Judge.
I do not owe my allegiance to anyone or anything other than God.
Yep, forced pledges certainly guarantee the survival of the nation, like in Nazi Germany... er, like the Soviet Union... ah, help me out here....
Ah, bigotry and fascism all in the same package. How very efficient of you.
Note which comes first.
Despite my opposition to forcing (see post 26) I stood and recited the pledge proudly and daily when I was in school.
Of course, this was during WWII. Somehow I think it had a different meaning to us then.
Reagan appointee,, 1986
Ryskamp, Kenneth L.
Born 1932 in Grand Rapids, MI
Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
Nominated by Ronald Reagan on March 12, 1986, to a seat vacated by Joe Eaton; Confirmed by the Senate on April 23, 1986, and received commission on April 24, 1986. Assumed senior status on January 1, 2000.
Can't argue with that! You're right, as usual, LMT. You're pretty darn smart for a guy! :)
I stand corrected. I thought he was a Bush appointee.
Great homepage. Try suspenders. :)
No problem, I am sure both Presidents would be disappointed in this latest pronouncement from the bench.
Here is a site to get info on all Judges.
Children are not citizens, that is self-evident. They can be be compelled to say the Pledge. We compel them to go to school in the first place, and once there compel them to say and do any number of things, why shouldn't they be allowed to opt out of going to school or participating in any given class, history for example, "on grounds of personal or political belief?" It might be a good idea to allow students to sit out the pledge as a lesson in freedom of opinion but Constitutional Right? No way.
well then would you prefer...
I pledge allegience to the Republic and to the flag which stands for it?
The flag is listed first because it is the symbol of the US. Do you not agree that the Flag stands for this Nation, the rights it gives and the people who have died for it?
Still the bright side is, that we are turning out enough patriots, who are both knowledgeable about and respectful of this great country's past, that we have survived ... so far.
I take it, then, that you do not agree with the ruling and believe that it is acceptable to make the activity ruled against compulsory? What is the reasoning for that?
At the risk of being presumptious, I believe that ZULU was employing a rhetorical tactic known as "sarcasm".
Obviously, you have nothing but contempt for the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
If so, then I retract my previous comment -- but it certainly sounded indistinguishable from stuff that some Freepers say with complete seriousness.
Do we have three branches or two?
Seriously, if the legislative law is so irrelevant then why bother? We could have a fortune in pensions and we could rent out the capitol bildings for bar mitzvahs and weddings.