Real People, Bad Decisions

Five individuals upset by court decisions in recent years–at state and federal levels–gathered last week outside the U.S. Capitol to attack judicial activism and promote the appointment of Judge John Roberts as the next chief justice of the United States.

Among the group was Sandy Banning, the mother of Michael Newdow’s daughter, for whom atheist Newdow attacked the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools (Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow).

Pleading for the American people “to stand and let [their] voices be heard in support of judicial nominees who will respect the Constitution,” Banning expressed her approval for Roberts as the next chief justice.

With the ruling announced in California last Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, declaring the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance a violation of the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, the issue could well be on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court for round two.

When Newdow, a lawyer and practicing physician, presented his case before the Supreme Court in 2004, it was dismissed 5-3 because he didn’t have primary custody of his daughter and was thus unable to sue. But this time, he is suing on behalf of himself and two unnamed families with children in Sacramento schools.

That is why Banning, backed by Sen. Mel Martinez (R.-Fla.) and the conservative Committee for Justice, along with four others, is speaking out about the dangers of judicial activism.

Other bad court decisions discussed involved affirmative action, unjust interpretations of Title IX, the saying of prayers in schools and the loss of property rights to the government without due compensation.

Even with these and other issues lurking, focus remains on the possible return of the Pledge of Allegiance case to the highest court in the land. Therefore, according to Banning, the appointment of new Supreme Court justices who know their boundaries is all the more critical because judicial activism needs to end.

“That is why it is so important to choose judges who have the modesty to believe that they are bound by the Constitution and laws, rather than believing they know better than the Founders and our elected officials,” she said.