Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow is set for oral argument on Wednesday March 24, 2004. Should be interesting. I really have no idea about the standing issue. It quite possible it may be punted on that basis.
Elk Grove filed a reply brief which regardless of its other merits had one of the more incomprehensible arguments in it that I have seen of late. In the section of the brief entitled "The Pledge Does not Assert that God Exists"
Respondent fails to consider the fact that the text reveals a political purpose behind the amendment [of the pledge], i.e. the political difference between the United States and Communist countries. The legislators believed that people are important because they are created by God and endowed with certain inalienable rights. H.R. Rep. No. 1693 83d Cong., 2d Sess. 1-2 (1954). Thus, "under God" was added to the Pledge to highlight the underlying differences in the political philosphies of the countries, not for the purpose of recognizing the existence of God.
A reasonable observer would understand the Pledge was not amended to take a position on the existence of God , but instead to highlight the political differences between the United States and communist nations. As a result, the Pledge does not violate the Establishment Clause.
Huh? The change highlights a political philosophy difference. Okay, but the political philosophy difference being described is that Americans believe in God and the communists don't. Doesn't this in fact require a belief in God? Under this argument, if there is no God there are no unalienable rights. (BTW I don't actually think that natural law philosophy requires a belief in God, the rights can be inherent in one's existence regardless of whether they are "bestowed" by a supernatural being)