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Why McCollum's 'under God' omission would have been feasible in 2002

I know I just wrote a blog about Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN). But a reader sent me this and I just had to do another one. Ready. Set. Go.

McCollum has issued a response to those criticizing her omission of "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance in April 2002. On Tuesday, the Rep's website called those who oppose her actions "anti-American":

Conservatives are using an eight year old video clip to incite hate, racism, and intolerance among Tea Party Republicans. This right-wing effort to call into question Congresswoman McCollum's Christian faith, her belief in God, and her patriotism is blatantly anti-American and all too similar to the extremists who earlier this year mailed a soiled American flag to her Congressional office and threatened the Congresswoman with violence.

Congresswoman McCollum rejects this radical agenda and condemns the extremist tactics behind this poisonous political exploitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

To support her case, McCollum provides three clips showing her reciting the Pledge on the House floor and including "under God." Fair enough.

But here's what I can't get over. If my memory serves me right (and a quick Google search confirmed it) the spring of 2002 is known for a Pledge of Allegiance controversy extending beyond McCollum. That's around the time that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was considering the case Elk Grove Unified School District vs. Newdow.

In that case, a father (Michael Newdow) was suing the school district saying that his daughter was harmed by having to listen to other children use "under God" in the Pledge. In June, the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of Newdow. However the case was first argued in March. It eventually went to the Supreme Court, which overturned the 9th's decision saying that the father didn't have sufficient "standing."

While we can never know for sure, it seems fishy to me that McCollum omitted "under God" just two months before the decision was handed down by the 9th Circuit, and just one month after that court heard the case.

Maybe she has, ever since that time, said "under God." But it is important to know that the political climate at the time of the omission would have welcomed such an act.

Or maybe she just took a breath. Maybe.

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