PLEDGE PROTECTION ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - September 23, 2004)
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Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution.
Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time, and I thank him for his leadership on this. I also want to thank and recognize the leadership of the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Akin) for his determination in protecting the Pledge of Allegiance in this country. I wish to also express my support, as chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, for H.R. 2028, the Pledge Protection Act.
When the issue of limiting Federal Court jurisdiction was raised during the discussions of the Marriage Protection Act, the Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing examining Congress' authority to do this. During the hearing, testimony was heard by a number of constitutional experts. While there was mixed opinion on whether Congress should exercise its authority, there was a consensus that Congress did in fact have the authority under Article III of the Constitution to determine what issues were heard by the Supreme Court under its appellate jurisdiction and by the lower Federal courts.
This point was highlighted most recently by the Dean of Stanford Law School who wrote, "The Constitution leaves room for countless political responses to an overly assertive court. Congress can strip it of jurisdiction. The means are available, and they have been used to great effect when necessary; used, we should note, not by disreputable or failed leaders, but by some of the most admired presidents and Congresses in American history."
As we continue the debate today, I would urge each Member of Congress to recite to himself or herself the Pledge of Allegiance that we are talking about and ask yourself what it means to you. It deserves protection. It defines not only our national heritage, but unites our society each time it is recited. We cannot let rogue Federal judges redefine our country's history and the basis from which our Founding Fathers found guidance and strength when constructing our great country.
Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 2028.