The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday said it would not revisit last year's ruling that upheld a Florida school policy requiring students to get a parent's permission to avoid having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
The case was brought in 2005 by Christine Frazier on behalf of her son, Cameron, who was in the 11th grade. A federal district judge agreed that the rule "robs the student of the right to make an independent decision whether to say the pledge."
But last July, 11th Circuit Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson, Senior Judge James C. Hill and visiting 9th Circuit Senior Judge Arthur L. Alarcon said the Florida law protects parents' constitutional rights to bring up their children as they see fit.
"The State, in restricting the student's freedom of speech, advances the protection of the constitutional rights of parents: an interest which the State may lawfully protect," the panel said.
Judge Rosemary Barkett dissented from the court's refusal to rehear the case, saying it "directly contravenes" the U.S. Supreme Court's 1943 ruling that held that states may not compel minor students to recite the pledge.
She added that the panel "mischaracterized the issue as one involving the resolution of conflicting constitutional rights between parents and children."
"Because the State itself cannot compel speech, it lacks the capacity to delegate to parents the power to compel this speech," she wrote.
A representative from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which represented the Fraziers, could not be reached. A spokesperson for Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said, "We're very pleased with the ruling and see it as a significant issue for parents and families."
The case is Frazier v. Alexandre, No. 06-14462.