Write an argument as to how the Supreme Court would rule on the inclusion of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance if the issue were to be brought before it again.

General InformationThis assignment requires students to evaluate a question that does not have a definitive answer. Specifically, students will write an argument as to how the Supreme Court would rule on the inclusion of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance if the issue were to be brought before it again.Most notably, in 2004 the Supreme Court ruled in a case brought by an atheist who said a California school’s pledge requirement violated his daughter’s rights under the First Amendment’s Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. In Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, the Supreme Court did not end up ruling on the legality of the words “under God” in relation to the First Amendment. Instead, Justice John Paul Stevens said Newdow didn’t have standing to bring suit because he lacked sufficient custody over his daughter. The case did not settle the matter as the Supreme Court dismissed the case on a technicality and did not rule on the “merits” of the case; leaving the constitutionality of the words “under God” to a future Supreme Court to rule on those merits.This is an area where people have strong opinions. Having said this, your personal opinion is NOT important for this assignment. Instead, it is your understanding of the Court’s approach to this area of constitutional interpretation to determine whether they would rule “under God” fails or passes the Lemon Test. Students should carefully study Patterson’s discussion of the Establishment Clause and the following court cases using the Legal Information Institute via Cornell’s Law School prior to beginning the assignment:Engle v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962)Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985)Locke v. Davey, No. 021315 (2004)Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677 (2005)McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky., 545 U.S. 844 (2005)How to Write a Critical Evaluation of the Establishment ClauseCritical thinking is the “ability to interpret, analyze, synthesize, or evaluate information, issues, and ideas and apply creative thought to formulate a substantive opinion, solve a problem or reach a conclusion.” In order to evaluate this question from a more critical perspective, i.e. use information appropriately to investigate a point of view or conclusion, students should format their paper in the following manner:
Introduction: This paragraph should be no more than five sentences long and should provide a general background of the issue in question in addition to indicating the overall structure of the essay. Put another way, this is where students should introduce the topic and state their thesis regarding the Supreme Court’s hypothetical stance on the constitutionality of “under God” in accordance to the Lemon Test.
Analysis: The body of your essay focuses on the thesis stated in the introduction. Regardless of whether the student argues the Supreme Court would find “under God” to be constitutional or not, the analysis must go through and examine whether “under God” passes or fails all three components of the Lemon Test, making certain to include a minimum of one distinct court case per test (for a minimum of three court cases overall). This implies that the analysis should take up a minimum of three paragraphs.Students should not focus on explanation or providing as much detailed information as possible regarding either the Lemon Test or the court cases. Providing little more than a summary of Patterson or the court cases will, for all intents and purposes, result in a failing grade. Instead, students should outline each paragraph in their analysis as follows:State, i.e. argue, whether “under God” passes a specific component of the Lemon Test.Explain the rationale for this argument.Bring in one of the listed court cases as support for your argument. Do not use this opportunity to regurgitate facts of the case or background information. Instead, students must explain and justify why this particular case supports their claim. Put another way, how does this case inform your argument that “under God” passes (fails) this particular tenet of the Lemon Test?This explanation represents an essential part of the critical thinking process. Paragraphs within the analysis portion of the paper should be anywhere from four to eight sentences in length. Finally, students are not allowed to use court cases outside the ones listed in this handout.
Conclusion: The final paragraph is not a time to restate your thesis or the main ideas already discussed in the essay. Instead, a good conclusion emphasizes the significance of your analysis and nicely ‘wraps up’ the argument of your paper. Conclusions should be approximately four or five sentences in length.Works Cited and Citations: Students must include in-text (parenthetical) citations in addition to a Reference/Works Cited page with both Patterson and the court cases properly formatted in the style guide of the student’s choice (MLA/APA).Turning in the AssignmentAfter completing the assignment, upload a PDF file to Brightspace no later than September 2 at 11:59 PM. Email or Google Doc submissions will not be accepted under any circumstances.