Arizona Bills Require Public School Students to Recite Loyalty Oaths
Yet another Tea Party member grandstanding on patriotism and the constitution… by introducing bills that violate our Constitution.
It’s also instructional that the party most interested in obstructing judicial appointments is passing so many poorly crafted state bills that are bound to clog our courts for years with incompetent attempts at legislation that are incapable of passing Constitutional muster.
As written, the bill does not exempt atheist students or those of different faiths from the requirement, though Thorpe has pledged to amend the measure. “In that we had a tight deadline for dropping our bills, I was not able to update the language,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Arizona Republic. “Even though I want to encourage all of our students to understand and respect our Constitution and constitutional form of government, I do not want to create a requirement that students or parents may feel uncomfortable with.”
A separate measure introduced by Thorpe’s colleague would also “require all students in first through 12th grades” “to say the pledge of allegiance each day.” Currently, “schools must set aside time for the pledge each day, but students may choose whether to participate.”
Constitutional experts warn that both proposals are unconstitutional. As American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona Public Policy Director Anjali Abraham explained, “You can’t require students to attend school … and then require them to either pledge allegiance to the flag or swear this loyalty oath in order to graduate. It’s a violation of the First Amendment.”