A federal appeals court upheld the use of the words “under G-d” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In G-d We Trust” on U.S. currency, rejecting arguments that the phrases violate the separation of church and state. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected challenges by Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow, who says references to G-d are unconstitutional. The underlying lawsuit reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004, and the High Court said Newdow lacked standing since he did not have custody of his daughter, on whose behalf he claimed to bring the case. So he filed another case using children of other atheist parents to overcome the standing issue and object to the recitation of the pledge at school. In 2005, a federal judge in Sacramento decided in Newdow’s favor, prompting the appeals court to take up the case again. Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the majority in Thursday’s 2-1 ruling finding that “[t]he Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded,” he said. Newbow says he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court again! Last fall I gave a constitutional law lecture Read More …

Serial Killer Rodney James Alcala: Bachelor #1 Has Reached His Expiration Date

Yesterday, in an Orange County courtroom convicted murderer Alcala was finally given the death penalty. Through DNA, blood and fingerprint evidence, Alcala’s sordid resume includes the late 1970’s murders of 4 young women ranging in age from 12 to 32. Additionally, he raped and beat an 8 year old girl in 1968; that woman, now age 50, sat with the 12 year-old victim’s family as the sentence was administered. Interestingly, Alcala has the dubious distinction of being a winning contestant on “The Dating Game” in the 1970s; ironically, the bachelorette who chose him later refused to go through with the date. Lady Justice can only speculate how that courtship might have ended.