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"The hint"?? I thought our courts were supposed to be above all this political, partisan BS. They're just supposed to interpret the law. So much for that notion...

The hint that the Supremes think that the Pledge is constitutional. Appeals to the Supreme Court are discretionary (with some exceptions not relevant here). The Court doesn't have to take a case. If they're comfortable with the lower court decision, they don't need to grant certiorari - they just let it stand. So when the Supremes pick up a case on review and overturn the outcome, it's a pretty good sign that they disagree with the legal call you just made - even if they dispense with it on standing grounds.

And like I've said upthread, there is a fairly well established body of precedent that these kinds of ceremonial acknowledgments of deism do not violate the Establishment Clause. That quote I cited upthread?:

I would suggest that such practices as the designation of "In God We Trust" as our national motto, or the references to God contained in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag can best be understood, in Dean Rostow's apt phrase, as a form a "ceremonial deism," protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content.

That's not some rightwing conservative Justice - that's Brennan, a staunch progressive and the leader of the Court's liberal wing for much of his tenure on the Court. This is the guy who dissented (strongly) from Court decisions allowing legislative prayers and creches on public property. And Brennan's dissent in Lynch was joined by all of the other liberal Justices on the Court, including Blackmun and Stevens.

I know that freethinkers and atheists frequently talk about UG and IGWT as if they were the most obviously unconstitutional practices in the world. But when even some of the most liberal justices )the ones who are out there issuing unpopular opinions that creches and legislative prayers are unconstitutional) are saying, "Yes, but of course the national motto and the Pledge don't violate the Establishment," maybe it's appropriate to question just how strong that argument is. It might be right, but it's certainly not the no-brainer that some folks like to think it is, if liberal jurists like Brennan and Blackmun and Stevens were disagreeing with it.

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