In The School



Liberty Institute, The American Legion Applaud Court for Granting the Legion's Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit and Upholding the Rights of School Children to Say the Pledge



MATAWAN, NJ, February 6, 2015 – The Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County, granted a motion by The American Legion, The American Legion Department of New Jersey and The American Legion Matawan Post 176 to dismiss a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance under the New Jersey Constitution. The law firms of Sidley Austin LLP, Fishkin Lucks LLP and Liberty Institute represent the local, state and national Legion in this matter. Follow this link to view an online copy of the ruling once it’s available:

This is the second time the same group sued at the state level to delete the words “under God” from the Pledge.  Both courts rejected that claim.

“We are pleased the Court granted our client The American Legion’s motion to dismiss the case,” said Jeff Mateer, Liberty Institute General Counsel. “The unmerited assault on the Pledge of Allegiance and the rights of New Jersey school children to honor God and country is unfortunate and we are thankful that the law has once again been upheld.”

In September, the Court permitted the Legion to become a party in American Humanist Association  v. Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District to defend the Pledge the Legion has supported and promoted for almost 100 years. 

The lawsuit began this past March when a humanist group filed a complaint alleging that the voluntary recitation of the Pledge in New Jersey schools violates the New Jersey Constitution’s equal protection guarantees because the Pledge includes the words “under God.”

“We applaud today’s outcome that allows the school and the Court to avoid wasting more time and resources on a meritless lawsuit,” said Roger Byron, Liberty Institute Senior Counsel.  “This past May, the U.S. Supreme Court yet again used the Pledge of Allegiance as an example of a clearly lawful practice.”

In 1984, The United States Supreme Court observed that “the language ‘One nation under God,’ as part of the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag … recited by thousands of public school children—and adults—every year” is a “reference to our religious heritage” in the same vein as “official references to the value and invocation of Divine guidance in deliberations and pronouncements of the Founding Fathers.” 

The American Legion, the largest veterans service organization in the nation with approximately 2.3 million members, has a long-standing interest in the Pledge. The Legion convened the very first National Flag Conference in 1923, as well as the second National Flag Conference in 1924, which amended the Pledge to read “the Flag of the United States of America.”  The Legion was also active in securing enactment of the Act of June 14, 1954, which added the words “under God” to the Pledge. 

Case Files & Updates

Court order and opinion - Filed February 4, 2015 - Link

September 24, 2014 press release download - Link

July 31, 2014 press release download - Link

Motion to Intervene - Link

Motion to Dismiss - Link




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