After Losing the Massachusetts Pledge Case, Would the Atheist Side Have Done Anything Differently? May 13, 2014

After Losing the Massachusetts Pledge Case, Would the Atheist Side Have Done Anything Differently?

David Niose (below) represented the plaintiffs in the recent case to stop the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in Massachusetts. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled against him, unfortunately, and yesterday, Niose reflected on whether he would have done anything differently:

In the wake of this outcome, it’s natural to ask if there is anything that we would do differently. Honestly, not much. Our briefs were extremely strong, directly addressing every issue and shooting down every argument from the other side (including those upon which the court ultimately based its decision). Experts who reviewed our briefs repeatedly told us how impressed they were with our case (including a former high court clerk, who said our briefs were among the most impressive he had ever seen). If we made a miscalculation, it was in not anticipating that the court would expect bullied children before it would grant relief — but frankly, that has never been the standard in Massachusetts for other minorities.

My worry is that if the SJC needs a bullied child before it’ll reconsider the recitation of the Pledge, it won’t be long before they have what they want. To force children to go against the grain and remain seated or leave the room during a “patriotic exercise” just paints them as outsiders. No child should have to wear that label against their will.


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