Americans United Condemns House Passage Of 'pledge Protection Act'

Measure Is Dramatic Assault On Individual Rights, Says AU's Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State deplores today's vote in the U.S. House in favor of a bill banning federal courts from hearing legal challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance.

This afternoon, the U.S. House voted 247-173 to approve the so-called "Pledge Protection Act." The measure, H.R. 2028, bans all federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, from considering constitutional challenges to the Pledge.

Americans United had urged lawmakers to defeat the bill, calling it "extreme and unwise."

"This bill is a dramatic assault on the courts and individual rights, wrapped in phony patriotism," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "This is election-year grandstanding at its worst.

"The supporters of this bill have shown callous disregard for long-standing constitutional principles," Lynn continued. "The federal courts should be open to all Americans seeking protection of their constitutional rights."

The Pledge Act, sponsored by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), is the second court-stripping bill passed by the House this session. In July, the House approved a bill banning the federal courts from hearing legal challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

"I am confident the Senate will bury this bill, as it so richly deserves," Lynn said.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.