General Question

GeorgeGee's avatar

Do you think a judge should be able to force you to recite the Pledge of Allegiance?

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22 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

This is supposed to be a free country. If we can be jailed for exercising our right to free speech (or free silence), this country is screwed. Big time.

Brian1946's avatar

If the judge’s issue is patriotism, and the Supreme(?) Court ruled that Phelpsoid aholes can go to a fallen soldier’s funeral and display signs that say things like, “God hates America”, then an attorney shouldn’t be forced to recite the pledge.

Kraigmo's avatar

Hell no! I haven’t said the pledge since 3rd Grade, when I first came to the conclusion it was bullshit, like any other country’s pledge.

I don’t do pledges unless under duress.

And it’s not worth it to put me under duress.

Brave women and men have died for my right to refuse to say the pledge, among lots of other things.

Although I’m referring to “me”, I’m obviously talking about all of us.

Ivy's avatar

I didn’t understand how this could happen today until I read, “It seemed like a normal day in Chancellor Talmadge Littlejohn’s courtroom in Tupelo, MS.” The Union may have whipped the Confederacy ages ago, but these small southern cities and towns still do pretty much what they want when they want. What still happens in Louisianna makes this story look tame.

iamthemob's avatar

I’m a little ambivalent about this – lawyers generally know that certain judges have their peculiar ways of running court that you better follow. A judge also has the responsibility to set the rules by which all parties are to follow in order to ensure that a trial runs in a neutral fashion. Had had he allowed the lawyer not to follow his instruction, it may have set bad precedent for the remainder of the trial.

On the other hand, attorneys are generally required to take a loyalty oath to both the state and federal constitutions to be admitted to the bar…so this seems redundant. Also – I don’t see how holding an attorney in contempt for a small infraction will make the trial more neutral rather than privelege the party not represented by that attorney.

But I’d like to know what the attorney was objecting to…considering that they have already taken a similar oath, was it something like the “under god” bit? If so, was it necessary to refuse the entire pledge – or was there a reason not to do a “line-item” pledge?

There are some interesting issues that this raises that I don’t think allow us to draw hard lines.

Brian1946's avatar


Are judges allowed the option of not having the pledge recited?

meiosis's avatar

No, it’s completely outrageous to be punished for refusing to pledge anything.

Aren’t you guys meant to recite the pledge each day at school? What would happen if a pupil refused? Are foreign students expected to say it?

KatawaGrey's avatar

It’s ridiculous to jail anyone for refusing to say anything unless the act of them refusing to say something actively obstructs a case.

I read this book in either 5th or 8th grade oh, my memory and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It turns out this whole book based on a real case was about a kid who didn’t say the pledge in school.

iamthemob's avatar


I’m certain that it varies from state to state, and perhaps even town to town.

Cruiser's avatar

No and I expect the Judge will get a talking to by the Mississippi judicial Commission on why doing this ever again is not a good idea.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

I don’t think you should have to recite the pledge of allegiance but it would be nice if people would stop trying to make a big controversy over the pledge. We’re suppose to be a free country but news flash we’re really not.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, but not all judges are qualified to be judges.

lillycoyote's avatar

If they deleted the “with liberty and justice for all” part, then I would have no problem with forcing people to say the pledge and putting them jail in they refuse. Forcing people to say the pledge with that passage included just doesn’t seem right somehow. :-)

GeorgeGee's avatar

That’s a good point @lillycoyote… If you are required to pledge “liberty for all,” then it would be dishonest to follow up by convicting anyone and depriving them of their liberty.

lillycoyote's avatar

@iamthemob Here’s a little more information on the incident and the attorney. He’s apparently a very 1st Amendment kind of guy and the article states that he was before this judge previously and refused to say the pledge. That time he was asked to leave the courtroom and returned after the pledge. This time, not the way it played out. Apparently the judge is not a second chance kind of guy. :-)

iamthemob's avatar


Thanks! It actually, though, seems like the judge IS a second chance kind of guy – and undermines any reason I think he would have had to hold the attorney in contempt. Since he had already indicated that it wasn’t a requirement, he should have stuck to that. Otherwise, he’s being arbitrary in how he is enforcing behavior in his court – a DANGEROUS way for a judge to be.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

That is messed up. I agree with @wundayatta
Time for a protest. :)
I think judges have too much power actually. One of my friends went to court over an issue and the judge said if he didn’t fix his hair he was going to send him to jail. Its just highlighted blonde and its not even long.
What is this country becoming? shame, shame

lillycoyote's avatar

@iamthemob Well, I don’t know much about these things. My thinking was just that, going with what you said about attorneys understanding that judges have their “peculiar ways” was that the first time the judge understood that he couldn’t expect the attorney to know what he required in his courtroom so he let it slide but the second time the attorney did know and the judge expected him to comply. Anyway, I don’t think judges should be permitted to require anyone to recite the pledge; I’m just explaining my thinking on the second chance thing. There is peculiar, there is wanting to run your courtroom in particular way and there is requiring an attorney to recite the pledge, which is not the same thing as taking a loyalty oath to uphold the constitution. And that is what they swear an oath to do, correct? To uphold the constitution, yes? Both at the Federal level and their respective state constitutions. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they don’t swear a loyalty oath to the piece of paper and what it represents do they? They swear an oath to uphold the “laws of the land” that are codified in the document, in the Constitution. The pledge requires that you swear allegiance to a symbol and to what that symbol represents.

iamthemob's avatar

They swear an oath to uphold the “laws of the land” that are codified in the document, in the Constitution. The pledge requires that you swear allegiance to a symbol and to what that symbol represents.

You’re right – it’s not precise. I do consider it irrelevant to make a pledge to the symbol of the country and the country itself if you’re already saying your going to defend the laws and rights in its founding documents and the laws written under it.

We both may be getting too nitpicky here – I don’t think anyone’s been held legally responsible for failing to fulfill the duties they swore to in the Pledge.

although now I kind of want to test that…

cazzie's avatar

He’s a bad judge and removing him from the bench would be a start.

mattbrowne's avatar

Of course not. The issue is telling the truth.

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