PLEDGE PROTECTION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - July 19, 2006)
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Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Watt Amendment, which would restore the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over questions related to the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Pledge of Allegiance is an important expression of our shared values, and it should be preserved in its current form. I fully support the Pledge of Allegiance and urge my colleagues to do the same.
The intent of this bill is good. In fact, I was a cosponsor of this bill in the 108th Congress. However, that was before the provision was added to restrict the Supreme Court from hearing cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill we vote on today again strips the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over this important constitutional issue.
I recognize that Congress clearly has the authority under Article III of the Constitution to define the jurisdiction or the federal district and appellate courts. But constitutional scholars say there is no direct precedent for making exceptions to the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
I would caution my colleagues to think twice before tampering with authorities clearly granted in the Constitution. The issue today may be the Pledge, but what if the issue tomorrow is Second Amendment rights, civil rights, environmental protection, or a host of other issues that members may hold dear?
I would also ask my colleagues, do we really want 50 different versions of the Pledge of Allegiance? I certainly don't think so.
The Watt amendment would restore to the bill the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over questions related to the Pledge of Allegiance, changing the bill back to the way it was originally introduced in the 108th Congress when I was a cosponsor.
I revere the Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance. I believe that ``Under God'' are two of the most important words in the Pledge. I also believe that the Supreme Court should be the final arbiter of all federal questions. That's why I urge you to support the Watt Amendment to the Pledge Protection Act.
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