News & Events
"Under God" in the Pledge: Dr. Michael Newdow's Journey to the Supreme Court
Date: Monday, April 11, 2011
Time: 12:10 - 1:30 PM
Room/Location: Drinko 348
Sponsor(s): American Constitution Society
Contact: Ashley Carter
Photos: View Photo Gallery
Dr. Michael Newdow, lawyer, atheist activist, and emergency medicine doctor, will speak about his efforts over the past decade to uphold the separation of church and state.
These efforts include a lawsuit to have required recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools ruled unconstitutional because of the inclusion of 'under God.' In 2003, he sued on behalf of his daughter in the Eastern District of California and the case was dismissed. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit ruled he did not have standing to sue as a non-custodial parent. In Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, the Supreme Court agreed that he lacked standing and never reached the First Amendment issue. He sued again on behalf of other plaintiffs in 2005, and won in the Ninth Circuit District Court. In 2010, the Ninth Circuit reversed that case, finding the teacher-led pledge recitation did not constitute an establishment of religion under the First Amendment.
Dr. Newdow has also challenged "In God We Trust," Presidential inaugural prayers, and congressional chaplaincies, and the Pledge in the 1st Circuit. Dr. Newdow will take questions at the end of his speech. Lunch will be provided for attendees.
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