[Congressional Record Volume 148, Number 87 (Wednesday, June 26, 2002)]
[Pages S6105-S6112]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I indicated a few minutes ago that it was 
our intention, after consultation with the Republican leader and our 
colleagues, to offer a resolution immediately on the matter of the 
Ninth Circuit Court decision. That is our intention at this point.
  I will propound a unanimous consent request that allows us to go to a 
vote. I know a number of other Senators wish to be heard, but I think 
it would be appropriate for scheduling purposes for us to have the vote 
and then accommodate other Senators who wish to be heard. We will 
certainly allow the floor to be available for purposes of additional 
comment by our colleagues.
  Let me ask Senators to vote from their desks on this particular vote. 
I think it would be appropriate, given the strength of feeling we have 
on the issue, that we draw a distinction between this and other votes. 
I ask Senators to vote from their desks.
  I also note as we have already announced through our cloakrooms, 
every Senator will be listed as a cosponsor unless they ask to be 
removed from that list. So Senators will automatically be listed as a 
cosponsor. We have had so many requests on both sides of the aisle, it 
was our view it would be appropriate for us to do that.
  I also ask unanimous consent that the resolution be submitted and 
stated for the record, prior to the vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DASCHLE. I ask unanimous consent the Senate proceed to the 
consideration of the resolution at the desk earlier introduced by 
myself and Senator Lott regarding the Pledge of Allegiance, that no 
amendments or motions be in order, the Senate immediately vote on 
passage of the resolution, that any statements thereon appear in the 
Record as though read.
  Mr. LOTT. Reserving the right to object only for parliamentary 
inquiry, is it the majority leader's intent to put the vote 
  If I could, under my reservation, then just make a couple of points.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican leader is recognized.
  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I certainly support this effort. I have no 
intent at all of objecting. I am very pleased the Senate is going to 
act so quickly on this matter.
  Senator Daschle and I have been talking about it the last few 
minutes. We have developed what I think is very good language to 
address this outrageous decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  Just as the Supreme Court has recognized that elected officials may 
invoke God's blessing on their work as we do here every day, and as in 
the House Chamber they have over the Speaker's chair, ``In God We 
Trust,'' for our children to be allowed to invoke God's blessing on our 
country in the Pledge of Allegiance is certainly something we want to 
  If there is ever a time when we need this additional blessing, 
perhaps it is now more than ever in our lifetimes. I have seen that and 
felt that as I have gone around, not only my own State but this 
country. So I think it is essential the Senate speak immediately in 
clarification. I hope the Ninth Circuit will have an en banc panel that 
will reverse this decision; failing that, that the Supreme Court will 
act on it expeditiously.
  In our resolved clause, we state that we disapprove of the decision 
by the Ninth Circuit and that we authorize and instruct the Senate 
legal counsel to seek to intervene in the case to defend the 
constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance.

  Beyond that, to further make it clear, the Senate should consider a 
recodification of the language that was passed in 1954. There was no 
uncertainty or ambiguity about what was done in 1954. The Congress, in 
fact the American people, spoke through their Congress. We should make 
it clear once again.
  I commend you, Senator Daschle, for moving this matter forward 
aggressively. For the Senate to have this vote is absolutely the right 
thing to do. I know the American people agree with that decision.
  I withdraw my reservation.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. DASCHLE. I compliment the Senator on his remarks. I appreciate 
very much his cooperation in the last couple of hours.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk 
will report the resolution.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A resolution (S. Res. 292) expressing support for the 
     Pledge of Allegiance.

       Whereas, this country was founded on religious freedom by 
     founders, many of whom were deeply religious;
       Whereas, the First Amendment to the Constitution embodies 
     principles intended to guarantee freedom of religion both 
     through the free exercise thereof and by prohibiting the 
     government establishing a religion;
       Whereas, the Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis 
     Bellamy, a Baptist Minister, and first published in the 
     September 8, 1892, issue of the Youth's Companion;
       Whereas, Congress in 1954 added the words ``under God'' to 
     the Pledge of Allegiance;
       Whereas, the Pledge of Allegiance has for almost 50 years 
     included references to the U.S. flag, the country, to our 
     country having been established as a union ``under God'' and 
     to this country being dedicated to securing ``liberty and 
     justice for all;''
       Whereas, the Congress in 1954 believed it as acting 
     constitutionally when it revised the Pledge of Allegiance;
       Whereas, this Senate of the 107th Congress believes that 
     the Pledge of Allegiance is not an unconstitutional 
     expression of patriotism;
       Whereas, patriotic songs, engravings on U.S. legal tender, 
     engravings on federal buildings also contain general 
     references to ``God'';
       Whereas, in accordance with decisions of the U.S. Supreme 
     Court, public school students cannot be forced to recite the 
     Pledge of Allegiance without violating their First Amendment 
       Whereas, the Congress expects that the U.S. of Appeals for 
     the Ninth Circuit will rehear the case of Newdow v. U.S. 
     Congress, en branc;
       Resolved, That the Senate strongly disapproves of the ninth 
     circuit decision in Newdow v. U.S. Congress; and that the 
     Senate authorizes and instructs the Senate Legal Counsel to 
     seek to intervene in the case to defend the constitutionality 
     of the Pledge of Allegiance.

  Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There is a 
sufficient second.
  Mr. DASCHLE. Again, I ask Senators to vote from their desks.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the resolution. 
The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from North Carolina (Mr. 
Helms) is necessarily absent.
  I further announce that if present and voting the Senator from North 
Carolina (Mr. Helms) would vote ``yea.''
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 99, nays 0, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 163 Leg.]



[[Page S6106]]

     Nelson (FL)
     Nelson (NE)
     Smith (NH)
     Smith (OR)

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The resolution (S. Res. 292) was agreed to.
  The preamble was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.
  Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, this was the last vote of the evening.
  Under the normal rules of the Senate, of course, it is the custom of 
the Senate each morning to pledge allegiance to the flag. We will be 
coming into session tomorrow morning at 9:30. It would be my 
suggestion--not my original suggestion, I hasten to add--that we as 
Senators be here at 9:30 to pledge allegiance to the flag. I encourage 
Senators to be present at their desks at 9:30 to accommodate that 
  (Applause, Senators rising.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont is recognized.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I think the distinguished majority leader 
has made an excellent suggestion. I also wish to express my 
appreciation to him for bringing up S. Res. 292 and doing so in a 
bipartisan fashion. I also express my appreciation to the staff of the 
Senate Judiciary Committee who worked so very hard to move on this 
resolution as quickly as they did. I appreciate the distinguished 
majority leader requesting that we have such a resolution. He is 
absolutely right. I have to assume that the Ninth Circuit will now hear 
this case en banc, and I have to hope the decision will not be upheld.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I simply want to respond to the 
distinguished Senator from Vermont and, as always, thank him for his 
kind words and support for the resolution and, as always, his 
willingness to be helpful. I am also pleased with the unanimity with 
which the Senate has expressed itself this afternoon. It was the right 
thing to do. It was important that we did it in a timely manner.
  Again, let me reiterate my thanks to the distinguished Republican 
leader for the tremendous cooperation he has shown in allowing the 
Senate to move as quickly as it has. It sends as clear and unequivocal 
a message as I believe we are capable of sending.
  We strongly disagree with the decision made today. We will authorize 
our Senate legal counsel to intercede on behalf of our position before 
the court. That is the right thing to do. I am very pleased we were 
able to say it as strongly as we have on a bipartisan basis that we 
have today.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah is recognized.
  Mr. BENNETT. Mr. President, over the weekend I had the experience and 
the pleasure of narrating Aaron Copeland's ``Lincoln Portrait'' in a 
presentation by an orchestra back home in Utah. I had not done that 
  Aaron Copeland took some of Abraham Lincoln's most stirring words and 
accompanied them with music, and it is a great opportunity for those of 
us who don't have as much musical ability as some others to participate 
in that kind of a presentation.
  I was interested that one of the things in the ``Lincoln Portrait'' 
by Aaron Copeland is a quotation from the Gettysburg Address, when 
Abraham Lincoln prophesied that this Nation, under God, shall have a 
new birth of freedom, and that government of the people and by the 
people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth. If the Ninth 
Circuit Court position is upheld and made universal, that means that 
Aaron Copeland's tribute to the memory of Abraham Lincoln will have to 
be censored and that we will no longer allow our schoolchildren to 
learn the Gettysburg Address.
  Indeed, if this position is upheld, we will no longer be able to 
teach our children the Declaration of Independence because Thomas 
Jefferson referred to our rights as having been endowed by the Creator.
  The Ninth Circuit makes it very clear that they do not believe any 
public official should speak of the Creator in a way that implies that 
he exists or, if you prefer, that she exists.
  The word ``God'' is sufficiently universal and nonspecific as to 
allow those who use it to ascribe any quality, any gender, any 
doctrine, any position that those people might wish to ascribe to it. 
It is inconceivable to me that the Ninth Circuit should suggest that 
the generic term ``God'' is somehow endorsement of a specific religion.
  It is interesting that the vote we have just taken takes place under 
words carved in marble, literally carved in marble and gilded in gold 
here in the Senate Chamber, that say: ``In God we trust.'' I would hope 
that the judges on the Ninth Circuit would not attempt to send U.S. 
marshals into the Chamber of the Senate with jackhammers in an effort 
to remove that marble from above our entryway. It has been there since 
the Chamber was built. I hope it remains there as long as the Chamber 
remains, the judges on the Ninth Circuit to the contrary 
  As I walked over to come to this vote, I came under the flags of the 
50 States. They are displayed in the walkway in the tunnel that comes 
between the Senate Office Building and the Capitol. I noticed that on 
two of those flags, Florida and Georgia, there are the same words that 
we have here in the Chamber, ``in God we trust.''

  I wonder if the justices of the Ninth Circuit wish to order the State 
legislatures of those two States to change the State flags in their 
effort to see to it that we remove any reference whatsoever to God from 
our public discourse. Oh, I understand that they do not wish to remove 
all references to God. It will still clearly be fine for the people in 
Hollywood and on television to curse people in the name of God. It will 
only be illegal for someone to bless people in the name of God. The use 
of the name of deity in oaths of blasphemy are protected under the 
first amendment. It is just the use of the name of God in expressions 
of belief that these judges wish to strike down--an inconsistency which 
I hope will enter into their hearts and make them realize how foolish 
their decision is.
  Finally, my mind goes back to the experience in the Middle Ages when 
Galileo--who said that the Earth revolves around the Sun rather than 
the Sun revolving around the Earth--was forced by the legal structure 
of his time to recant. And in order to save his life he did so. He 
stood there and proclaimed aloud that the Sun revolved around the 
Earth, and then as he stepped away from the place where he had made 
that public recantation, he muttered--speaking of the Earth going 
around the Sun--``nonetheless, it still revolves.''
  Regardless of what the courts may say, the American people still 
trust in God. As long as they do, it will remain our national motto 
because it is a correct statement of how we feel, and it belongs in the 
Pledge of Allegiance to our flag.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California is recognized.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I would like to say a few words about 
the resolution. Before I do, I know Senator Landrieu would like to 
speak and perhaps others. Perhaps I could offer a unanimous consent 
agreement that directly following me--does Senator Burns wish to speak?
  Mr. BURNS. Yes.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. That Senator Burns, and then Senator Landrieu, and 
Senator Allen have 5 minutes each.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEVIN. Reserving the right to object, was that a unanimous 
consent request?
  Mr. LEVIN. I would like some indication of approximately how long 

[[Page S6107]]

Senator plans on speaking. I have no desire to limit them, but I would 
like to get an idea.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Not very long for me.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Five minutes.
  Mr. LEVIN. If it is 5 minutes each, that is fine.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California is recognized.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise as a Senator from California, a 
member of the Judiciary Committee, and one who has been trying to hold 
together the Ninth Circuit. I find this decision, at best, very 
embarrassing--embarrassing because perhaps the court doesn't know, but 
our coins have contained ``in God we trust'' for a century and a half. 
This was put into action by the Congress in 1954, almost 50 years ago. 
So we have had reference to God on our coins for a century and a half 
and reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance for over a half 
century. In 30 years of public life, I have never had an objection from 
anyone about either.
  When I heard about this decision, knowing how Senator Burns has felt 
about the Ninth Circuit, I quickly looked to see who the judges were. I 
found that one is a Nixon judge, one is a Carter judge, and the 
dissenting judge was a George Bush, Sr., judge.
  I can only say that I would be hopeful that the full Ninth Circuit 
would take up this matter and straighten it out, and, if they do not, 
that it goes rapidly on appeal to the Supreme Court of the United 
States, and that the Supreme Court of the United States straightens it 
  From the beginning of our country, God has always played a role. All 
you have to do is look at some of the remaining churches in the 
Thirteen Colonies to know that God has always played a role in the 
foundation and the continuation of our Nation. For the Ninth Circuit to 
suddenly say that it is unconstitutional for the Pledge of Allegiance 
to make reference that we are one nation under God is incomprehensible 
to many of us. So our remedy must rest with the remainder of the Ninth 
  For me, it is going to be interesting to see whether they will 
measure up to this challenge or whether they will let a three-judge 
panel speak for them. I strongly urge that, if they feel as strongly as 
the Members of this Senate do, they sit en banc and take a look at this 
matter. If not, it certainly should go to the Supreme Court.
  I can only say this Senator is embarrassed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana is recognized.
  Mr. BURNS. Mr. President, words cannot express the outrage I felt 
when I heard this decision. There will be those of us who will express 
it in different words than probably lawyers will. A couple of weeks ago 
we were visited and addressed by the Prime Minister of Australia, John 
Howard, when he related his feelings because he was in this country on 
September 11 of last year. He said that, since then, this country has 
reacted in a way that reestablishes or reconfirms the very values on 
which this country is based.
  Then we have a circuit court that comes down with a decision such as 
this. It is absolutely unbelievable. Can our children no longer sing 
``God Bless America,'' or even ``America the Beautiful,'' or all the 
stanzas to our National Anthem?
  Do you want to take a look at the dollar bill? On the back of it is 
the symbol of this country, the eagle, and, of course, the eternal eye. 
This is a value-based society, and to say those who are sheltered from 
being removed from office, unless the crime is really something, but 
just for an opinion such as this, I find that unbelievable.
  We are a nation founded upon the acknowledgement of a Creator. It has 
been that way since day one, or even when the flame of freedom was 
ignited in the men and women way back in the 1700s. Men and women have 
died, given their lives, on the field of battle to protect it, just as 
they have another symbol of this country called our flag.
  It doesn't make a lot of sense. Of course, there are a lot of things 
that do not make sense in this world. I always refer to this place as 
17 square miles of logic-free environment. Nonetheless, whenever you 
jump across the street, we find another logic that I fail to 
understand. So I will stand here and tell America that those values--
this being one of them--that those men and women did not die in vain. 
And it did not take very long for this body, that represents 
constituencies across the width and breath of our country, to react to 
it. That has to tell you something about who we are and what we are and 
how we got here.

  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana is recognized.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I thank the Chair. Mr. President, I wish to add my 
voice to all of those who have risen in the last several hours to 
express my feelings and the feelings of people from Louisiana about 
this unfortunate ruling.
  It is clear to most of us at least that we believe God is infallible, 
but clearly these judges are not. This case and this decision are very 
disappointing to many of us, and I am sure around the Nation it has 
caused a great deal of anxiety, anguish, disappointment, and anger.
  We remember all too well the Dred Scott decision that relegated 
African Americans to a status as property, and the Plessy v. Ferguson 
decision that disgracefully upheld the Jim Crow laws of this Nation. In 
these cases the American judiciary unfortunately demonstrated its 
ability to be just plain wrong, and today is another one of those 
  A wonderful aspect, however, about our democracy is that when we make 
mistakes, those mistakes can be corrected, and there are a variety of 
ways that can happen today.
  I thank Senator Daschle, our leader, and Senator Lott for so quickly 
assembling a resolution in which we all have joined as coauthors 
stating our position in the Senate that reflects, I believe, the 
overwhelming views of the American people. The force of that resolution 
will have a very positive impact.
  I also understand the entire Circuit Court will hear this case en 
banc, and I am almost certain, or at least very hopeful, that this 
decision will be reversed and this wrong righted.
  There have been many beautiful things read into the Record that 
remind us of our heritage, that remind us of why this country is so 
great, is so wonderful, is so unique, and so special; from the eloquent 
remarks of the Senator from West Virginia to the Senators who have 
recently spoken.
  I thought it might be appropriate at this time to read into the 
Record for this occasion a wonderful quote from Abraham Lincoln--one of 
our greatest Presidents, if not our greatest on what he had to say 
about our relationship to God and our Creator as a nation and as a 
collective people. It was on the occasion of the first Presidential 
resolution to set aside at least 1 day for a national day of prayer and 
fasting. This was established many years ago in 1863.
  In this statement, Abraham Lincoln calls for our Nation to come 
together in prayer and to acknowledge God and to acknowledge a Supreme 
Being and our Creator. He said:

       We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of 
     Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace 
     and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, 
     as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. 
     We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in 
     peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and 
     we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, 
     that all these blessings were produced by some superior 
     wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken 
     success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the 
     necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to 
     pray to the God that made us.
  It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, 
to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

  This is just one of the many writings--hundreds, thousands--by 
Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, Governors, council members, mayors, 
elected officials, leaders of this great country that we call America 
acknowledging that we as a nation stand under God, acknowledging His 
presence, although we worship Him in different ways, we may call Him by 
different names, and we strongly support the rights of those in our 
society to not acknowledge His presence. But we collectively as a 
nation will in no way back down in acknowledging His presence and His 
divine creation.

  Madam President, I wanted to submit my thoughts on this issue for the

[[Page S6108]]

Record and also say that I am introducing a proposed constitutional 
amendment to address this issue in the event that the court decisions 
do not unfold the way I suspect they will. I send to the desk a joint 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Cantwell). The measure will be received 
and appropriately referred.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I thank the Chair, and I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. ALLEN. Madam President, I associate myself with the remarks of 
the Senator from Louisiana, Ms. Landrieu, and I commend her for her 
resolution. With her consent, I would like to add my name to her 
resolution in the event the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court 
continue this errant miscarriage of justice.
  Madam President, we often talk about ``miscarriages of justice,'' but 
today I talk about an instance in which proper administration of 
justice was dragged into a dark alley and mugged.
  Many of us are outraged to learn today that a divided three-judge 
panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals believed it knew better 
than the properly exercised wisdom of the people and their duly elected 
representatives in striking down the Pledge of Allegiance and stating 
that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. These judges ignored 
the very basis of our democracy and representative Government. They 
have ignored, right before Independence Day, the spirit of our country 
that Mr. Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, proclaimed to 
the British monarchy, which had an established religion, that our 
rights are God-given rights.
  He stated in the Declaration of Independence that we are endowed by 
our Creator ``with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are 
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'' All of this came from the 
Virginia Declaration of Rights which expressed the same sentiments.
  Let's understand, if these judges do not understand, with their 
judicial activist decisions such as this, the judges are to interpret 
the laws, they are not to write the laws. The laws on the Pledge of 
Allegiance and the laws for the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance 
in our schools are passed by State legislatures all across our country. 
They are reflecting the will, the desire, and the value of the people 
in their States and in their communities.
  Let's also understand that these activist judges, like the two 
involved in this majority decision of the Ninth Circuit, often cite the 
first 10 words of the Establishment Clause, which says:

       Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of 
     religion . . .

  But they too often forget the six words that follow:

     or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

  To understand the history of religious freedom in this country, one 
must understand that this country, in the very beginning, starting with 
the Virginia Company, which was a commercial venture--it still was a 
crown colony, as were all the colonies, and as such it was associated 
with the Church of England or the Anglican Church. People were 
compelled to pay taxes to that church whether they wanted to go to that 
church or not.
  The concept of the statute of religious freedom first started in 
Virginia with Thomas Jefferson. He drafted the Virginia Statute for 
Religious Freedom. It is on his gravestone as one of his three most 
proud accomplishments, along with the founding of the University of 
Virginia, and drafting the Declaration of Independence.
  The statute of religious freedom was a novel idea. It was a radical 
idea because what you had in the 1700s and before then were monarchies, 
theocracies in effect, where the monarchs were ruling because of 
bloodlines not because of merit or popular will. They also had a single 
church and that church was given that exclusive monopoly in that they 
would then say that those monarchs were ruling by divine guidance and 
divine right. In all of these monarchies, the idea that people could 
believe as they saw fit and not be compelled to join a church or be 
compelled to support a church was a very radical idea and upsetting to 
the tyrannical monarchs because that upset their whole justification 
for being in power in the first place.
  The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom actually took 7 years to 
pass in the Virginia General Assembly. Good ideas still sometimes take 
a long time. Mr. Jefferson was the Minister to France when James 
Madison finally got this Statute through the Virginia General Assembly.
  The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom states very clearly, in 
article I, section 16, of the Virginia Constitution, ``That religion, 
or the duty which we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it, 
can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and 
therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of 
religion, according to the dictates of conscience; . . . '' and so 
forth. It goes on to say that people's rights and individual's rights 
should not be enhanced nor should they be diminished due to their 
religious beliefs.
  Now the purpose of the Establishment Clause, which was then put into 
the Federal Constitution in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, 
was not to expunge religion or matters of faith from all aspects of 
public life. The Pledge of Allegiance should remain in our schools and 
other public functions, but it should be voluntary. The Commonwealth of 
Virginia has such a law but it is voluntary. If a student does not want 
to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, he or she is not compelled to do 
so. One needs to respect that individual conscience.
  The way it is in the law, whether in this case in the Ninth Circuit 
or elsewhere, is that it allows, in accordance with the founding 
documents of our Nation, the ability of the majority to express their 
values and their wisdom. If somebody somehow does not want to recite 
it, they are not compelled to do so.
  So the Establishment Clause, as well as our Bill of Rights, and our 
Declaration of Independence, are all modeled on the Virginia Statute 
for Religious Freedom, and the Virginia Declaration of Rights.
  The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, as drafted by Mr. 
Jefferson and then carried forward by James Madison and adopted in 
1786, counsels against the impious presumption of legislators and 
rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but 
fallible and uninspired men who have assumed dominion over the faith of 

  The Virginia Declaration of Rights holds that all men are equally 
entitled to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of 
their conscience. Minimal reference is made to a nondenominational 
creator or natural rights or God and that is consistent with the values 
and the desires of the people. This is in step, and the laws are, 
fortunately, in this regard, in step with our society and the views of 
the people, as they have been throughout our history.
  It is my hope, and it is not without basis, that this decision of the 
Ninth Circuit will be handily reversed by the Supreme Court of the 
United States.
  I remind the Senate that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has by 
far the most dismal reversal rate in the Supreme Court of any court of 
appeals in our land. In recent years, the reversal rate has hovered 
around 80 percent compared to about 50 percent for the next highest 
circuit, which is the Eighth Circuit. In one recent session of the 
Supreme Court alone, an astonishing 28 out of 29 decisions of the Ninth 
Circuit Court were overturned. That is 97 percent. What ruling from the 
Ninth Circuit will come next? Are they going to white out passages of 
the Declaration of Independence? Will it be improper to recite on 
public grounds the Declaration of Independence because it refers to our 
Creator giving us unalienable rights? Will the Ninth Circuit order 
currency and our coinage to knock out the insidious message of ``In God 
We Trust''? Will they say that all coins have to be destroyed and 
melted down? Will they imprison school choirs and have the school 
directors imprisoned because the children are singing ``God Bless 
America''? Who knows what is next out of the Ninth Circuit.
  At some point, though, a proper respect for the rights of the people, 
their desires, and also common sense and reason must be guiding our 
courts, especially this particular circuit court, and today's activist, 
offensive decision.
  Today's action by the Ninth Circuit is hit-and-run jurisprudence. It 
is smug judicial activism at its rankest. It is

[[Page S6109]]

outrageously out-of-touch with the desires and values of the American 
people. It is striking down the basic concept that laws made by 
Congress or by State legislatures, unless they are clearly 
unconstitutional, ought to be respected.
  I am proud today, only days before the 226th anniversary of our 
Nation's birth, of our Declaration of Independence, where we ceded from 
the monarchy of Britain, that we are going to stand for what is right. 
We are going to stand by our flag and the principles of freedom and 
justice and with our Pledge of Allegiance.
  I thank my colleagues for their united, bipartisan stand for what is 
right about America and what is right for our schools and our 
youngsters, and that is stating the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BROWNBACK. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BROWNBACK. Madam President, I rise today to discuss this recent 
Federal court of appeals ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance and to 
express with my colleagues the universal outrage of the court's ruling 
today, and the delight with how we have joined together so quickly, and 
I express this on behalf of all Americans that we believe ``In God We 
Trust.'' We believe that this is a nation under God. We believe in what 
is placed on the mantel above the Senate Chamber, ``In God We Trust.'' 
Our very Constitution itself signs off using the word, ``Lord.''
  Can we declare the Constitution unconstitutional? I guess it would be 
a legitimate question to ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Is the 
Constitution unconstitutional? Our Declaration of Independence refers 
to God multiple times including saying that our certain unalienable 
rights are endowed by our Creator.
  George Washington's Farewell Address, which is read in the House and 
Senate each year, refers to God and faith and religion. Abraham 
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address uses the word ``God,'' proclaiming that 
this Nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom. Booker T. 
Washington repeatedly referred to God when speaking. Even Elizabeth 
Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth referred to God in their writings and 
speeches. Will it now be unconstitutional to teach American history to 
our children, to require them to read some of the words of the great 
men and women of our Nation because they mention God? Will those have 
to be stricken from all of the speeches of Lincoln and Washington and 
Martin Luther King? Will it have to be taken out of the Declaration of 
Independence? According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, this 
could indeed be so. After all, if saying the Pledge of Allegiance 
violates the establishment clause of our Constitution, how can these 
others not do so as well?
  What about our money--I think we are in a real problem here--which 
has the motto ``In God We Trust'' on it, or the fact that every day we 
open Congress with a prayer, maintain full-time Chaplains on each side 
of the Capitol Building, and in the very Chamber in which we stand 
today it twice says ``God''. Do we have to get the putty out and fill 
them in?

  Consider the very founding of our Nation. At that time, the brave men 
and women trusted in God and believed we owed our success to him. In 
fact, the first act of the first Continental Congress was a public 
prayer. As Sam Adams noted then in support of the idea, he was no bigot 
and could hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue who at 
the same time was a friend of his country. And so on September 7, 1774, 
the first official prayer before the Continental Congress took place 
when an Episcopal clergyman read aloud Psalm 35 from the Book of Common 
Prayer--a now unconstitutional act that he performed in 1774, the first 
Continental Congress.
  In 1779, the Congress urged the Nation ``humbly to approach the 
throne of almighty God,'' to ask ``that he would establish the 
independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and 
  Just 2 years later, Congress passed ``The Congressional Decree of 

       Whereas, it hath pleased Almighty God, the father of 
     mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States 
     of America in their important struggle for liberty, against 
     the long continued efforts of a powerful nation: it is the 
     duty of all ranks to observe and thankfully acknowledge the 
     interpositions of his Providence in their behalf. Through the 
     whole of the context, from its first rise to this time, the 
     influence of Divine Providence may be clearly perceived in 
     many signal instances, of which we mention but a few.

  An unconstitutional act?
  The founders also inscribed on the seal of our nation the Latin 
phrase, ``Annuit Ceoptis''--translated as ``God favors our 
  This belief infused those courageous risk-takers then when they faced 
an unimaginable and seemingly insurmountable undertaking--and it 
inspires many of us today, especially as we face an unimaginable and 
seemingly insurmountable undertaking in challenging terrorists around 
the world.
  Indeed, according to the 9th Circuit, it would be illegal to teach 
children about President Bush's address to Congress following the 
terrorist attacks.
  That's not just sad, it is an injustice to our children, our nation 
and our government. It cries out for logic and commonsense--but clearly 
this Court has neither. Although I am not surprised--it turns out that 
in recent years, more than 80 percent of the rulings by the 9th Circuit 
have been overturned. Just a few years ago the 9th managed to compile 
an 1-28 record at the Supreme Court--that is, the Supreme Court 
reviewed 29 cases from the 9th Circuit Court and reversed a stunning 28 
of them.
  Although I must admit that I can't just criticize the 9th Circuit, 
as, interestingly enough, we can make an accurate and strong argument 
that the Establishment Clause is clearly misinterpreted by the entire 
legal system today. The concept of a ``wall of separation'' is actually 
from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 that was completely 
unnoticed until a mistaken transcription of the original letter was 
cited by the Supreme Court in 1879 in Reynolds v. United States. The 
focus in 1879 was not on ``separation'' but on the term ``legislative 
powers''--yet the transcriber had written that wrong; The original, in 
Jefferson's neat handwriting, said ``legitimate power.'' This metaphor 
again remained unused and virtually unknown until Justice Black drew it 
from obscurity in 1947--again using the erroneous translation.
  So it is clear that our nation, perhaps even from the beginning, 
needs commonsense, reasonable judges--judges who will defend our 
principles, ideals and way of life. Judges who understand the risks and 
sacrifices made both by those who founded our nation and fought for its 
principles--and by those who continue to do so today.
  It is why today I thank Frank Bellamy, who wrote this beautiful poem 
that our Pledge was based upon in 1892 when he lived in my home state 
of Kansas in the small town of Cherryvale. And why I thank those 
sincere leaders who in 1954 sought to reaffirm, as the Declaration of 
Independence first declared, our ``firm Reliance on the Protection of 
divine Providence.''
  On a side note, Madam President, we have people every day who seek to 
emulate the model after the United States, thankfully. It is a great 
country. It is a country that stood for so much freedom for people 
around the world, people such as Mi-Hwa Rhyu and Sol-Hee Rhyu, a mother 
and daughter captured by police in Asia today, North Korean refugees 
seeking to flee North Korea and get to someplace like the United 
States, to be free and be able to live in a nation that honors God. 
They are now being detained and probably sent back to a country that 
does not honor God--North Korea--that does not believe, to suffer an 
ill fate there.
  Yet people yearn to be free, to come into a place that says, ``In God 
we trust.'' And they are willing to risk their lives to come into a 
place such as this. Countries seek to emulate our great land.
  Why, why, why will we seek to remove the foundation of all those 
basic beliefs that we have? I tell our schoolchildren not only is it 
wrong but unconstitutional to say ``under God'' or ``in God.''
  I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and 
to the

[[Page S6110]]

Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with 
liberty and justice for all.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. LEVIN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent the order for 
the quorum call be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, we have been discussing with some 
passion this afternoon, the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of 
Appeals on the Pledge of Allegiance, their ruling that the Pledge of 
Allegiance violates the Constitution of the United States. I think it 
is important for us to note that this is not a total surprise, although 
it has been a surprise. It should not have been a total surprise, let 
me say, because we have had a number of decisions by courts in America 
that have lost sight of the balance contained in the first amendment 
and have rendered opinions that go beyond the intent of the Framers of 
the Constitution.
  When we say go beyond the intent of the Framers, that is really not 
quite strong enough. The Constitution starts off saying:

       We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more 
     perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic 
     Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the 
     general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to 
     ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this 
     Constitution for the United States of America.

  We, the people, ordain and establish this Constitution--the one that 
we have, not one somebody would like it to be, not one that they wish 
it would be, but the one that we ordained, passed, the one that was 
ratified by the people of the United States.
  Over the years, we have amended that Constitution, as we have chosen 
to do so, from time to time. That is the way it should be amended. What 
the Constitution does not give is the power to judges to amend the 
Constitution. Some judges say: We will just redefine the Constitution. 
We are just matching it up with modern, enlightened standards. They may 
have meant that back then, but we want to reinterpret it today in the 
light of the standards and values that we have.

  And whose standards and values are they? It is the standards and 
values of the judge.
  I was very troubled about this recent ruling, the way it occurred, 
involving the death penalty law with regard to retarded individuals. 
The Court seemed to say that they had divined, somehow, that the 
American people had evolved in their thinking and, therefore, the laws 
their legislatures had passed were not valid anymore; that they could 
not execute people who were retarded.
  However you feel about that, that is a dangerous philosophy, but it 
is a philosophy afoot in America today. It is a philosophy, I think, 
that is dangerous to liberty. If you care about the Constitution, 
really respect the Constitution, as Professor Van Alstyne, of Duke 
University, one time said: If you respect the document, you will 
enforce it, the good and bad parts. You will enforce the parts you do 
not agree with, if you love, respect, and revere the Constitution.
  The way to erode the power of the Constitution to protect our 
liberties is to start playing around with the meaning of words, just 
redefining those words, and they come to mean whatever a judge says 
they do. That is a particularly pernicious thing because, you see, 
judges are not accountable. Federal judges are not accountable to the 
public. They are given a lifetime appointment.
  The one thing we have is a moment in time to review their record, to 
make sure they are committed to follow the Constitution. We vote on 
them in the Senate, they are confirmed or not, and they go on to serve, 
and then they are there forever.
  I think from a point of view of a democracy, our judges must show 
self-restraint. That is what President Bush has talked about in his 
judicial nominees--finding judges who follow the law, for the layman. 
Not make up law, not expand law, not make it say what they think the 
American people want it to say today--even though they may be correct. 
They may not be correct. They do not have the power to do that. It is 
an antidemocratic act when an unelected, lifetime-appointed judge 
simply takes a political view and imposes that through the 
reinterpretation of words.
  I remember Hodding Carter, President Carter's aide, was on ``Meet The 
Press.'' He used to be on there regularly. One time he said: We 
liberals have gotten to the point where we want the courts to do for us 
that which we can no longer win at the ballot box.
  I think that touched a nerve, really. I think that is too close to 
what I think is a problem in the legal system today.
  I don't expect the courts to carry out my political agenda. I want 
them just to enforce the law. I will be satisfied with that. As one 
professor testified with regard to the Bush nominees: If you appoint a 
nominee who says he is going to be faithful and in fact he is 
consistently faithful to the meaning of the words in the statutes and 
the Constitution, then what do we have to fear of that? How does that 
threaten us?
  What does threaten us is if a judge goes beyond that. I have been a 
big critic of the Ninth Circuit. I have spoken in this body more on 
this subject than any other Senator.
  I have been shocked by the rate of reversals they have had.
  Senator Brownback from Kansas had something to say about that.
  There was a Law Review article published recently that went into even 
more detail. The University of Oregon Law Review discussed this 
particularly troublesome trend.
  They said:

       Another interesting phenomenon is that the Supreme Court 
     unanimously agrees----

  That means the U.S. Supreme Court, across the political spectrum, 
unanimously agrees that the Ninth Circuit was wrong 17 times during the 
1996-1997 term. This is a fairly remarkable record considering that the 
rest of the circuits combined logged in with only 20 unanimous votes, 7 
of which were affirmative.
  We have liberals and conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, and 13 
of these cases were unanimous reversals of the Ninth Circuit.
  This article goes on to say that only 13 unanimous reversals were 
found throughout the rest of the United States but 17 in the Ninth 
  So that is the problem for us. We need to be concerned about it.
  I opposed two judges I sincerely believed were good people but who 
clearly--I had concluded clearly--had activist tendencies. And I was 
particularly concerned when President Clinton pushed those nominees 
because they were going to this circuit that has been out of step.
  We have to understand why we need to confirm judges who will 
consistently follow the law, whether they like it or not. That is what 
President Bush campaigned on; that is what he promised to do. That is 
what he has been submitting--men and women of the highest possible 
integrity, and high legal ability. These men and women are clear in 
their record as being people who just follow the law, whether they like 
it or not. That is what we expect out of a judge. It is important or it 
undermines democracy otherwise.
  I wanted to mention that.
  I also want to discuss just briefly the trouble we are having 
throughout the court system of America. The U.S. Supreme Court is not 
blameless in this issue. Somehow they have got it in their heads that 
virtually any expression of religious faith in a public activity 
violates the Constitution. We have problems with valedictorians making 
speeches out of their own hearts. They cannot say certain things 
because we have gotten to that point, as I mentioned earlier.
  That was criticized by Judge Griffin Bell, former Attorney of the 
United States under President Carter. Judge Bell said we ought to have 
a litmus test. Nobody ought to serve on the Court who doesn't believe 
in prayer at football games.
  How did we get to this point? How did we get to the point that a 
voluntary prayer--you don't have to bow your head. There is no 
requirement that anybody has to do anything before football games. We 
take a minute, and somebody says a little prayer that acknowledges 
something more important than who is the toughest football player on 
the field. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I don't 
believe that violates anybody's right.

[[Page S6111]]

  Just as I believe I should respect somebody who has a different faith 
than mine, just as I am required to respect the person who believes in 
no God whatsoever, and to have a decent respect for the opinions of 
others who would say to me: If we want to have a little prayer and 
everybody wants to have a little prayer, it is not going to bother me. 
I don't believe in God anyway. Let them have it.

  It is a part of our culture. It is not legitimate, in my view, for 
the Supreme Court or its subsidiary courts to come in and declare that 
it is in violation of the Constitution. After all, what does the 
Constitution say? The first amendment is the only reference to 
  It says Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a 
religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof. That is what the 
Constitution says. There is nothing in the Constitution about a law of 
separation between church and state.
  Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Baptist Association not long 
before he died in which he expressed an opinion that there ought to be 
a wall of separation. What he meant by that, who knows? But judges have 
seized on that and rendered these opinions, many of them citing that 
quote as if it is somehow part of the Constitution. But the American 
people didn't ratify that. They ratified the Constitution. That is the 
law of the land. What he wrote in a letter before he died is of no 
benefit in interpreting the Constitution--or a minuscule benefit, if 
  In fact, Thomas Jefferson wasn't even at the Constitutional 
Convention when they were drafting the Constitution. He was off in 
  We are off base here. Somehow, under the idea that we have raised the 
establishment clause higher than all reason dictates that it be raised, 
we are saying anything that expresses religious faith publicly is 
somehow an establishment of a religion. But everybody who knows the 
history of the deal understands that Virginia had an established 
church, and England had the established Church of England--the Anglican 
Church, the Episcopal Church. Other countries had the Catholic Church 
as the established church. We didn't establish a church. No church was 
going to be given preferential treatment over another one.
  That is what the Constitution was all about. That cannot be denied, 
in my view.
  Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of a 
  That is what the Founding Fathers wanted to prohibit. They didn't 
want to prohibit nor want to go back and strike the language from the 
Declaration of Independence, for Heaven's sake.
  For 150 years, we never had a problem with this. We rolled on--no 
problem. We have chaplains. We have thanksgiving days. We have all 
kinds of things occurring that reflect an acknowledgment in general 
terms of religious beliefs, and of a higher being.
  The Supreme Court said some things over the years. In recent years--
during the last 50 or 70 years--they have been inconsistent about it. I 
think that has given some circuits, like the Ninth Circuit, and some 
judges the opportunity to perhaps run with some liberty to go further 
than I hope the Supreme Court wants them to go. But the Supreme Court 
has some fault here. We have had a long period of these kinds of 
opinions that go beyond reason, in my view.
  For example, in Lynch v. Donnelly, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984 
recognized ``an unbroken history of official acknowledgment by all 
three branches of government of the role of religion in American life 
from at least 1789.''
  And it adds, ``Our history is replete with official references to the 
value and invocation of Divine guidance in the deliberation and 
pronouncements of the Founding Fathers and contemporary leaders.''
  We just have to be relaxed here, and be natural in our understanding 
of what we mean by not establishing a religion.
  We also do not need to forget the free exercise clause of the first 
amendment that we shall not be denied the free exercise of our 
religion. That is of equal value with nonestablishment of religion.
  Other things are important.
  Engraved on the top of the Washington Monument are the words ``Praise 
be to God.''
  I suppose the judges out there that rendered the opinion are going to 
have to take a chisel up there and go after it.
  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: At that tomb are these words 
engraved: ``Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but 
to God.'' Is somebody going to take the chisel to that?

  Let me mention this final quote. It shows how, in the middle of this 
past century, we were not so far out of sync about what the first 
amendment really means.
  Justice William O. Douglas, whom many would recognize as perhaps the 
most liberal member ever to serve on the Court--certainly one of the 
most, maybe, radical members of the Court; his background was quite 
unusual, but he was a brilliant man--he wrote many interesting 
opinions. This one, writing for the majority on the Court, in 1952, in 
Zorach v. Clauson, he stated this:

       The First Amendment . . . does not say that in every and 
     all respects there should be a separation of Church and 
     State. . . . Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens 
     to each other--hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly. . . 
     . Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to the 
     Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the 
     proclamations making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; ``so help me 
     God'' in our courtroom oaths--these and all other references 
     to the Almighty that run through our laws, our public 
     rituals, our ceremonies would be flouting the First 

  If that were the way we were going to interpret it. He is exactly 
  So my concern is that we would be in error if we simply stood up and 
said that the Ninth Circuit made a mistake and somehow it is all going 
to get corrected. There are Members of this body who have advocated 
aggressively for these kinds of opinions. There are Members of this 
body who have fought hard to confirm the kind of judges who render 
these rulings.
  In fact, this ruling, I assume, is going to be compatible with the 
views, probably, of a majority of law professors in America today--
maybe not, hopefully not--but a whole lot of them because that is what 
a lot of the people think.
  We have had a radicalized version of the establishment clause that is 
being taught, that has been adopted, and in significant part adopted by 
the Supreme Court. So they have a problem now, as I see it. They are 
going to have to deal with this.
  They say a schoolchild cannot say a prayer, cannot express religious 
faith through a prayer that nobody has to listen to, but we can chisel 
on a wall of the Senate: ``In God we trust.''
  They are saying we can have paid chaplains in this Senate and in the 
Armed Forces by the taxpayers of the United States, but nonmandatory, 
free expressions of faith all over the country they strike down in many 
different ways.
  So I think they have a problem. I hope this Supreme Court will 
reevaluate what they have done. I hope they will go back to the 1940s 
and 1950s, and all the century and a half of the founding of this 
country, and follow that history of jurisprudence. If they do so, they 
can get us out of this thicket.
  What we simply need to do is to respect other people's religion. If a 
group of kids want to have a little prayer, so be it. Let's let them 
have it. It does not hurt me. I do not think it hurts anybody else. 
That is the way I was raised: to respect people's faith, and not to 
denigrate someone else's faith when they do not agree with you.
  I hope that as we go through this whole debate, this resolution will 
have some impact. I doubt it will have much. But I hope in the course 
of responding to this opinion, which is, unfortunately, too consistent 
with some of the rulings of courts in America, that we will once again 
reattach ourselves to the great historic principles of America that 
venerate respect and further and nourish religious faith, not attempt 
to eliminate it from public life, but, at the same time, not allow 
anybody to impose their will on somebody else.

  I think we can reach that balance. I think we can show courtesy to 
one another. I hope we will be able to do so. If we do, America will be 
better off for it. It is time for us to get to the bottom of it, 
confront the issues honestly, and head on, and maybe we can make some 
  Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, I am surprised and offended by the 
decision of the Appeals Court of the Ninth Circuit and hope that it 
will be promptly

[[Page S6112]]

appealed and overturned. I believe that the Court has misinterpreted 
the intent of the Framers of the Constitution and has sought to 
undermine one of the bedrock values of our democracy, that we are 
indeed ``one nation under God,'' as embodied in the Pledge of 
Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.
  While our men and women in uniform are battling overseas and 
defending us here at home to preserve the freedom that we all cherish 
for our country and its citizens, we should never forget the blessings 
of Divine Providence that undergird our Nation. That includes the 
freedom to recite the pledge of allegiance in our Nation's schools. I 
can only imagine how they will feel about this decision as they risk 
their lives for our values.
  And the children of America, who share a bond with each other and 
with our Nation by reciting the pledge each day, what effect will a 
decision like this have on them? It will cause them to wonder about the 
ways in which our beliefs can be stretched, our heritage can be 
assaulted. It is the wrong decision, and it is an unfair decision, 
especially unfair to those who defend our Nation, and to the young 
people who will inherit our Nation's future.
  Ours is a Nation founded by people of faith. People of faith have 
helped lead some of the most significant movements of social justice 
throughout our history: to end slavery, to win civil rights for all 
Americans. No one is required to have faith, and our Government does 
not impose faith on its citizens. But ours is the most faith-filled 
nation on Earth, and there is no moral or constitutional argument why 
our Pledge of Allegiance cannot acknowledge our commonly held belief 
that ours is one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and 
justice for all.
  I am honored to support S. 292, the Pledge of Allegiance resolution, 
and I hope that the rule of law will be upheld by an ultimate rejection 
of this wrongheaded decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Mr. President, I am outraged with the 
decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Pledge of 
Allegiance is unconstitutional because it contains the words ``Under 
  The pledge is part of the fabric of our society, a wonderful 
tradition that is observed in thousands of schools each day by millions 
of school children.
  For two activist judges to decide for thousands of schools and 
thousands of parents that their children can't recite the pledge is the 
height of liberal intolerance and arrogance.
  The Declaration of Independence talks about our Creator. Our coins 
and dollars have ``In God We Trust'' imprinted on them. Our public 
officials take their oath on the Bible. The Ten Commandments is posted 
in the U.S. Supreme Court. The House and Senate start off each day with 
the Pledge of Allegiance. If it's good enough for Senators to say the 
pledge each day, it's good enough for America's school children to do 
the same.
  There are countless more examples of religion in American public 
life. The First Congress enacted the Northwest Ordinance, which 
provided that ``religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to 
good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of 
education shall forever be encouraged.'' President George Washington 
offered a prayer at his First Inaugural Address. Many of our nation's 
Founding Fathers and Framers of our Constitution commented publicly and 
privately about the values and importance of religion in American 
public life. Our armed services provide chaplains, priests and rabbis. 
The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate begin each day 
with an opening prayer. For this court to single out the pledge for 
including the phrase ``One Nation, Under God,'' is simply incredible.
  Nobody's forcing school children to recite the pledge. What we want, 
and what millions of parents want, is to simply give American children 
the chance to pledge allegiance to our Flag and to everything that it 
represents: patriotism, sacrifice, courage, justice, perseverance. The 
list goes on.
  Now, more than ever, we should encourage our young people to learn 
and respect the patriotic values embodied in our Flag, the symbol of 
our country, and in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  Mr. HOLLINGS. Mr. President, the judges who today declared the Pledge 
of Allegiance unconstitutional because of the words ``under God'' threw 
out reason and common sense and misread the Constitution. What we are 
left with is an absurd result.
  The first amendment of the Constitution allows for not only freedom 
of religion, but freedom to exercise religion. It is ludicrous that we 
can't say ``under God.'' Using these judges' twisted logic, ``In God We 
Trust'' couldn't be on coins, and we would have to edit the Declaration 
of Independence because it says that all men are ``endowed by their 
  When reason, common sense, and the correct interpretation of the 
Constitution return, this opinion will be reversed.
  I thank the Chair and yield the floor and suggest the absence of a 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Nelson of Florida). The clerk will call 
the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Miller). Without objection, it is so