An atheist who tried to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance lost a bid Friday to bar the saying of a Christian prayer at President Bush’s inauguration.
U.S. District Judge John Bates said Michael Newdow’s claim should be denied because he already had filed and lost a similar lawsuit at a federal appeals court in California last year.
Bates also said Newdow had no legal standing to pursue his claim. Even if Newdow could show he had suffered injury because he was offended in hearing the prayer, Bates said the court did not have authority to stop the president from inviting clergy to give a religious prayer at the ceremony.
“The court’s grave concerns about its power to issue an injunction against the president, which is the only method of redressing Newdow’s alleged injuries, places in peril Newdow’s standing to bring this action,” Bates wrote in his 50-page opinion.