Inauguration Prayer Stands
Judge makes the right decision

A US court rejected an atheist's request to bar prayer at President George W. Bush's inauguration next week, saying he had failed to show sufficient evidence that the ceremony would harm his constitutional rights.

* * *

In his ruling, Judge John Bates said Newdow "has not met his burden of establishing that the extraordinary remedy of preliminary injunction relief is warranted under the present circumstances."

"Newdow's alleged injury remains somewhat tenuous, not concrete," Bates wrote, adding that a last minute interdiction of prayer at Bush's inauguration would cause "considerable disruption" in a "carefully-planned" national event.

Judge Bates has it absolutely right. To obtain a preliminary injunction in most jurisdictions requires a showing of irreparable harm from allowing the action to proceed. The harm that Michael Newdow, the atheist who brought this case, might suffer is very tenuous, at best, especially when compared to the disruption it may cause.

The problem, of course, is that this only resolves the issue of the preliminary injunction. The lawsuit is still pending, and it is possible that Judge Bates could rule ultimately on the merits of the case that Mr. Newdow is right. Fortunately, the Judge, in his 41 page decision, also gave a preview of where he thought the case was going:

The judge argued that prayer has been part of inaugurations since 1789, when the first US president, George Washington, was sworn in.

Yup, he is following the Marsh case, as I discussed in my prior blog I don't like Minister(?) Michael Newdow. The Marsh case, in my opinion and the opinion of the ACLJ, completely destroys Mr. Newdow's arguments. I think the court should be considering sanctions if he insists on pushing this forward.


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