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Newdow: We will challenge Pledge again


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Michael Newdow
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The Supreme Court dismisses a challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance.
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(CNN) -- The Supreme Court ruled 8-0 on Monday that Michael Newdow did not have the legal standing to challenge the Pledge of Allegiance, allowing for the full pledge to continue to be recited in the nation's public schools.

Newdow had challenged the practice, saying teacher-led recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was unconstitutional. Newdow joined CNN's Heidi Collins to discuss the ruling from Sacramento, California.

COLLINS: Two years ago, the courts ruled in your favor. But today, the highest court dealt you a pretty major blow. How are you feeling tonight?

NEWDOW: Well, it's obviously disappointing.

However, there's some good aspects to it. First of all, we know what three of the justices are thinking, and we can address that when we bring the challenge again. There's no problem in bringing the case right back. I have numerous people who have expressed a willingness to be plaintiffs, so it's just going to go right back.

And then the other issue is the family law issue. The family law that we have in this nation, this "best interests of the child" standard in this entire process is completely unconstitutional. And, hopefully, this will raise some awareness as to that issue. No one has ever asked in the media, why did the guy not have the right to bring this case? What did he do? And the fact is, I've done nothing ...

COLLINS: Well, Michael, let me ask you this. Since the ruling did not really address the merits of your case, if you will, do you think the Supreme Court just copped out?

NEWDOW: I think punted is a good word. Especially in an election year, people had said that if I had prevailed, there was a good chance it could conceivably change the result of the election, and I think the justices were aware of that.

COLLINS: Justice John Paul Stevens said this, "when hard questions of domestic relations are sure to affect the outcome, the prudent course is for the federal court to stay its hand rather than reach out to resolve a weighty question of federal constitutional law."

Do you see any merits or do you have any understanding of what he said there?

NEWDOW: I have a lot of understanding of what he said there. I mean, the fact of the matter is that there is a fundamental constitutional right of parenthood, and to infringe upon fundamental constitutional rights, you need a compelling state interest to narrowly tailored laws.

COLLINS: But Michael, should parenthood or should a custody case, if you will, dictate to the entire country?

NEWDOW: It's irrelevant. I have a fundamental constitutional right of parenthood like every parent. I heard you have a 3-year-old child, and you should understand how this process works. Some person all of a sudden decides we've decided it's in the best interest of your child that you get to see your kid every other weekend ...

COLLINS: But you're trying to change something that will affect children all across the country, not just your own daughter.

NEWDOW: Why does my custody situation have anything to do with that? I still have a right as a parent. Why is this even relevant?

COLLINS: All right. Let me ask you ...

NEWDOW: It's a way to punt ...

COLLINS: Will you allow [your daughter] to recite "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance from now on?

NEWDOW: I have always allowed my daughter to do anything she wants. This issue is not about whether or not people are forced to say anything. The issue is whether or not government is taking a position. The establishment clause, unlike any other clause in the Bill of Rights, talks only about government. Government is not allowed to take a position with regard to religion ... It's not allowed to do that.


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