This is a decision a long time in coming.
Some long-term readers may remember a series of posts that I wrote when I expected this issue to be decided nearly two years ago.
From the beginning, this decision runs into problems.
After reporting that they hold that the Pledge does not constitute an establishment of religion prohibited by the United States Constitution, the majority writes:
the Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded and for which we continue to strive: one Nation under God - the Founding Fathers' belief that the people of this nation are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; indivisible - although we have individual states, they are united in one republic; with liberty - the government cannot take away the people's inalienable rights; and justice for all - everyone in America is entitled to "equal justice under the law.
In this paragraph, the majority all but declares that the contents of the Pledge of Allegiance is not just a description of some historical event. It is a prescription. It is not merely a statement about, "here is how things happen to have been" but a statement about, "here is how things should be in the future."
So, how is it the case that a statement, by the government, that the citizens should proudly support the ideal of one Nation under God not constitute an attempt by the government to establish a particular attitude towards God and the relationship between the nation and God?
Well, it is pure nonsense.
Yet, history shows us how people can embrace pure nonsense when it yields a desired conclusion. They can write a glaring contradiction into the first page of an appeals court opinion and not see the glaring contradiction they have written. Even though it is as plan as writing on the first page of the opinion that 2 does not equal 2.
By calling these ideals, the Court itself is taking sides in declaring that these four qualities are to be found in all good (ideal) American citizens - a belief in a unified republic with liberty and justice for all that is a nation under God.
Any citizen that does not meet these criteria, according to the majority, fall short of the measure for an ideal American. We could say that those who hold all four of these ideas are what we may call first-class citizens. While, those who only accept three out of four may be put in a lower, second class of citizenry.
I will have more to say on this issue as I go through the arguments.