Lawsuit spurs Pledge of Allegiance bill
In response to a lawsuit against a Monmouth County school district, a local lawmaker has introduced legislation to protect the Pledge of Allegiance in its current form and potentially reimburse any public entity that successfully defends the Pledge in court.
Under the measure from Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Cream Ridge), court costs and attorney fees could be awarded to a public body – a school or local government, for example - that prevails in fighting for the Pledge. The reimbursement would come from the plaintiffs, or those looking to change or discard the Pledge.
“Our public tax dollars are better spent on students in the classroom than on attorneys in the courtroom,” Dancer said, noting there has not been one ruling against the Pledge in any federal district court.
“If anyone wants to remain silent during the Pledge of Allegiance, that’s their right,” he said. “But it is not their right to silence us and make us pay to defend a right that was paid for by the men and women of our armed services.”
An unnamed family, claiming the Pledge discriminates against children with atheist beliefs, has taken the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District to court, attempting to remove the words “Under God.”
A state Superior Court judge on Wednesday heard arguments on the school district’s efforts to dismiss the suit, but has not yet issued a ruling.
Dancer’s bill would also authorize the recitation of the Pledge at all public meetings in New Jersey.