I hear our President has signed legislation supporting the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance (search for bill S.2690 in THOMAS). It passed the Senate unanimously and the House with only 5 objections. It’s intended to be a response to this summer’s ruling by the 9th District Court of Appeals that the law that placed those words in the Pledge is unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the separation of church and state.

Now regardless of whether you believe those words should be in there or not, you have to consider: If the original law is unconstitutional, isn’t this one too?

I’m sorry, but this decision isn’t up to the legislature or the executive office. It’s up to the judicial branch to determine whether the original law can stand under the Constitution. If Congress doesn’t like the decision, they don’t have the authority to overturn it. They can take it up with the Supreme Court or amend the Constitution. If the Supreme Court agrees with the appellate court, then this law is equally invalid. If it disagrees, or if the Constitution is amended, then this law says nothing new.

Can you believe they spent almost five months crafting and debating a law that has no effect one way or the other?

2 thoughts on “Legislative waste.

  1. This [ed. note: originally linked to a now-defunct Washington Post article] may then interest you. Ah Alabama.

    I’m always surprised that people don’t see why posting the 10 commandments with “no other gods before me” is an endorsement of a particular religion. We’re not talking sort order here. It’s pushing a definite preference.

    Of course in my general irrevernece, I can’t help thinking about a more literal interpretation here. “And Allah, you will please sit on the left of Jehovah…We’re still trying to decide whether you go in the gods or leaders section, Buddah…”

    On the other side of it, why are you so surprised that our legislature wastes time making laws that will be thrown out? They also make a lot of laws that will just have to be overturned and do a lot of damage in between. It’s the ones that might not be dismantled in a more reasonable administration that worry me. Homeland Security, for instance.

  2. Certainly the Homeland Security bill is far more dangerous, but I chose to blog this one partly because of the controversy last summer, and partly because on the face of it, it looks innocuous. Then when you read it, it tries to break down the checks and balances system. The background statements go so far as to say that the ruling was “erroneous,” which is not for the legislature to decide. Then add to that the fact that it was a hot-button issue that went to a House vote the day before every single seat was up for election…

    (And, of course, it’s shorter than Homeland Security!)

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