The US House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday afternoon that would prevent the lower federal courts or even the Supreme Court from ruling on the thorny issue of whether the words "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge Protection Act (HR 2028) reads in part:
No court created by Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, the Pledge of Allegiance, as defined in section 4 of title 4, or its recitation.The bill was passed 247-173. While many Republicans consider the Act necessary to prevent the federal judiciary from undermining the Pledge, many Democrats say the Pledge Protection Act debases the Constitution and separation of powers doctrine in order to force an election-year roll call on the issue (see, for example, floor remarks Thursday by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi). The bill is not expected to advance through the Senate, but is one of a few "wedge" issues, including same-sex marriage and flag burning, that have arisen or are expected to arise before November. From Capitol Hill, the GOP Committee Central website provides background on the legislation and its rationale. AP has more.