Friday, January 14, 2005
Inaugural prayer: Litigious atheist Michael Newdow made his case in federal court yesterday to try to halt any sort of prayers at the Jan. 20 inauguration.
If you simply looked at the state of the law -- Newdow would win. Yes, that's the logical conclusion of the Supreme Court's church-state separation rulings.
The judge read aloud an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia in which the conservative jurist wrote that generations of courts had repeatedly "ruled out of order government-sponsored prayer . . . even when no coercion is present."
"Why shouldn't I be worried about that?" Bates asked the lawyers. "Don't we have something very close to that here?"
Scalia isn't in favor of that conclusion, that's just his analysis of the logical final result of the Court's recent decisions.
So, the judge should rule in favor of Newdow -- it can only strengthen President Bush's hand when it comes to appointing judges.
In the short term, the prayers can go ahead despite the court's ruling -- to quote Andrew Jackson: The judge "has made his decision, now let him enforce it."