As reported by Spocko in another thread it appears that the Supreme Court has decided to take the easy way out on the issue of the Constitutionality of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance:
Five justices—led by Justice John Paul Stevens—said Michael Newdow, the father, did not have legal standing to bring the case. Newdow, who is involved in a custody dispute with the mother of their third-grade daughter, could not speak for the girl, the court ruled.
Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said, “When hard questions of domestic relations are sure to affect the outcome, a prudent course is for the federal court to stay its hand rather than reach out to resolve a weighty question of federal constitutional law.”
He added, “Newdow lacks prudential standing to bring this suit in federal court.”
The longer this dragged on the more I had a feeling things would go this way. Given the Court’s rulings in the past they probably would have been hard pressed to justify not declaring the words a violation of the Establishment clause. Ruling that it is in fact a violation in an election year when Senators are already trying to introduce legislation that would ban the Court from ruling on such issues is probably not a wise idea either. They’re well aware this is just postponing the issue until someone who has legal standing raises the challenge, but they may be hoping to buy some time for the political winds to change before it comes up again.
I’m disappointed, but not surprised. It at least leaves the door open for the question to be raised again.