Judge’s recital of pledge leads to recusal

Posted by: ST on April 6, 2006 at 10:36 am

This ought to get your blood boiling this morning:

A flap over reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in court has resulted in a Gwinnett County judge’s recusing himself from a case.

Late last year, Magistrate Judge Mark A. Lewis was assigned to preside over a civil contempt case in Gwinnett Superior Court.

As he does each time he begins court proceedings, Lewis turns to the flag behind his bench and recites the pledge. He invites those in the courtroom to stand and join in but does not require it.

He began the practice with his first court session after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and has done it ever since.

But in a letter dated March 17, Atlanta-based attorney Donald A. Weissman, who is representing the defendant, told Lewis he objected to beginning court with “a public declaration of national loyalty.”

He asked Lewis to stop the practice or recuse himself from the case.

In an order dated March 30, Lewis said reciting the pledge is not “mandatory, requested or required” for people in the courtroom, and ruled that Weissman’s request had no basis.

The next day, during a hearing in open court with television cameras rolling, Weissman handed Lewis a copy of an official complaint he filed with the state Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Once the complaint was filed in court, Lewis was “ethically required” to remove himself from the case, Gwinnett Chief Magistrate Warren Davis said.

“It’s always just good form to recuse,” Lewis said Wednesday.

If the qualifications commission finds merit in the complaint, a final ruling could take months, Weissman said.

Judicial Qualifications Commission Executive Director Cheryl Custer could not be reached for comment.


Weissman said he’s concerned that failure to recite the pledge could affect fairness in the courtroom.

“The more I thought about it, the more concerned I became about whether people in the courtroom might perceive some degree of partiality based upon whether your loyalty is to the United States or not,” he said.

Weissman contended in his March 17 letter that Lewis apparently considered his court “to be an American court, rather than a court for all persons situated in America.”

Newsflash to the unwise Weissman: it IS an American court!

Michelle Malkin notes a post from Free Republic that has declared today “Take an American Flag to Work Day” – I’ve got one here at my desk that I keep, but here’s a photo of the flag that I’d like to display on this blog in honor of this day, and every other day – because as far as I’m concerned, everyday is flag day:

Never forget

The pledge:

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

See that, Mr. Weissman?

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20 Responses to “Judge’s recital of pledge leads to recusal”


  1. Baklava says:

    I’ve got one at my desk too !!!

  2. Karl says:

    I have a flag on my banner and on my sidebar, but I am going to shrink that picture you posted and add it to my other sidebar with this caption:

    Unapologetic about being patriotic.

  3. “The more I thought about it, the more concerned I became about whether people in the courtroom might perceive some degree of partiality based upon whether your loyalty is to the United States or not” he said.

    – My first question to this A**h*** would be “Then who the hell are you loyal too?”. Why is someone who quetions loyalty to our country practicing law here. In this idiots own words: “I’m concerned a practicing lawyer finds something “sinister” about National loyalty to America and I question whether he should be practicing law, wherein he swears as an officer of the court to uphold the laws of the land under ALL circumstances”.

    – Sounds more like he wants an open field to go off in any direction he chooses in defense of even non-citizens.

    – I see this as one more instance of the ACLU’ers trying to subtly move the goal posts to extend Constitutional rights to all comers, citizen or non-citizen, and redefine “human rights” as civil rights”. You see the same thing going on in the immigration battle. Redefine and then you can have it your way in spite of the laws. Everytime someone tries this they should be called out on it.

    – Its obvious the left is coaching the immigrant community. As usual the Liberals are for anything that weakens our Democracy. I am coming to outright Loathe Socialism in all its forms. I don’t mean dislike, I mean Loathe. I’m beginning to view it as not just something annoying, but an outright threat to our liberty.

    – Bang **==

  4. Jim M says:

    I have two flags of the Red, White and Blue on my truck one at full mast on the radio antenna the other on the inside rear view mirror. I also fly the flag of the United States of America on the front of my home. I have to drive through Gwinnett County on my way home I believe I’ll take the long way home by way of the Court House and my horn could get stuck. In support of Judge Lewis and in the face of this scumbag lawyer Weissman. Because it sure as hell isn’t a damn French court it’s an American court!

  5. Hehe – you go, Jim! :)

  6. factoid says:

    OK, picture this:

    You are in France on vacation, driving your rented car, when this cop pulls you over and gives you a ticket for doing 77 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. You want to contest the 500 euro ticket, so you go to court. Before your case could be heard, the judge stands up and invites everyone in the courtroom to pledge allegiance to the French Republic and its glorious flag, with liberte, egalite and fraternite for all. As a foreigner, you are not required to participate, but everyone else in the courtroom, including the cop accusing you, joins the judge in a full-throated prayer to the French tricolor. You sit there in respectful silence but you stand out like a sore thumb. Wouldn’t you feel that your failure to express your support to the French Republic puts you at a disadvantage? Cause I sure would.

    It’s the same deal here: at any given time there are millions of people in the United States legally (tourists, researchers, foreign students, diplomats, noncitizen permanent residents) who owe no allegiance to the United States but could have business before the court. They deserve a level playing field, without even the impression that their allegiance to their own country disadvantages them in a court of the US of A.

    That’s not to say that I don’t expect Judge Lewis to be loyal to the USA. But when I step into a courtroom and see a guy in a black robe at the front, I kinda assume that he is loyal to the Republic for which the flag in the courtroom stands, even if he doesn’t swear to that fact in front of me.

  7. Jim M says:

    You are right Sis this really makes me mad I just did a mass email of this article to a bunch of people I work with and to the company my wife works for. I’ll try to get in touch with Neal Boortz as you know he broadcasts from here in Atlanta GA or some other local talk show hosts. Thanks for the post.

  8. – Whoa…. Mz McKinney jsut apologised on the floor of the full House of Representatives. She said she is sorry for the entire affair, praised the hard and dedicated job being done by the men and women of the Capital hill security force and said “{I} am sorry the affair ever happened and that I escalated it and I want to apologize….”

    – Bang **==

  9. – We’ll have to see where the grand jury goes with this now, but a member of the House moved to suspend the vote of confidence for the Capital police immediately after McKinneys statement.

    – Bang **==

  10. Baklava says:

    Will be glad to see that video clip Bang.

  11. msh1973 says:

    My husband and I have been flying the American flag in front of our home since 9/11. We are proud to be Americans. I am wondering about where we are headed as a Country. It makes me afraid for my children and their children. What can we do as middle class Americans…maybe we should take it to the streets, with our own demostration. No, we can’t do that because we are too busy living our lives, raising children and going to two jobs a day.

  12. solitaire says:

    Red herring.
    Now… Libby testifying that Cheney told him that Bush authorized the Plame lead, now that bothers me.

    maybe Libby lied?

    Off topic – please get back on the topic at hand, solitaire. –ST

  13. – Yesterday I emailed Sistah an update on the Plamegate thing which showed Fitz in a real pickle, with no clear way out of the mess hes manufactured. Now Libby comes out with this, which on the surface of it has nothing to do with the Plame thing, so I quite honestly don’t know where the hell Libby’s going with this. It just gets weirder and weirder by the day. He was basically off the hook because its a part of the record now that Plame was outed BEFORE any contact with Libby, and the perjury charges were not valid either, so I can’t fathom what he gains going this way. Its almost as if Libby doesn’t want this to end for some reason….

    – Bang **==

  14. sanity says:

    Weissman contended in his March 17 letter that Lewis apparently considered his court “to be an American court, rather than a court for all persons situated in America.”

    What school of Law did this idiot of a lawyer go to?

    It IS an American Court.
    It USES American LAWS.

    We are not a World Court.
    We do not use or enforce other country’s laws.

    This has to be the most rediculous statement I have ever heard. Of course it is an American Court, in which the Judges and Lawyers hear and argue cases based on AMERICAN LAW!

    Court of all persons situated in America… was this lawyer hit in the head?!?!

  15. Lorica says:

    This situation is rather pathetic. I wish Mr. Weissman would recuse himself from the United States of America. – Lorica

  16. Severian says:

    The left definitely has a reading comprehension problem. The news says that Libby claims that Bush authorized the release of classified info from the NIE (that would be, he declassfied it, which is within his authority to do) to counter Wilson’s lies about WMD and uranium. Nowhere does it say that Libby said Bush told him to out Plame, though that’s how the intellectually challenged liberals seem to be reading it.

    Language precision, it’s your friend.

  17. – BTW. Before we get unendated with the usual ass-hat yammering about “White house leaks”, the President and VP under executive order have the right and power to DECLASSIFY information at any time and make it public if they think its in the national interest. So just ignore the words of “WH leak”. Its another clear example of how little the left really understands the workings of Executive responsibilities, this in spite of the fact that every president, including slick Willey does it on a routine basis.

    – Either way its hard to see how this has a thing to do with Plamegate, other than the fact that the Pres. decided to push back against the lies concerning the Yellow cake affair floated to the press by Wilson. Even in that, the Pres. never said HE was stating anything about Saddams efforts to obtain fissionable material. He said the British secret service did. Thats another of the “facts” the left keeps mis-stating over and over. Idiots.

    – So what it comes down too in this whole pile of nonsense is the left was angry that the Pres. was able to counter their lies so they went on this witch hunt and manufactired the entire scam.

    – Bang **==

  18. Lorica says:

    Now you want to talk about hurting national security. Here is yet another case of Billy Bob giving America the shaft.


    I long for the day we arrest this man for his treasonous activities. – Lorica

  19. PCD says:

    I see solitaire is trying to hijack this thread. I guess he’s not got his fill of trying to undermine this country and its institutions this morning.

    I have a flag “flying” on my computer every day and it has been there for years. It is a program that runs on my PC.

    If you ever think that Liberals aren’t out to destroy America, just look at Mr. Weissman.

  20. – Well Lorica, no doubt Clinton’s heart was in the right place. Unfortunately his head was in his shorts as usual. The NYTrash will somehow manage to “miss” this story on an ongoing basis of course. Hillery’s got enough problems already, as do the Dhmmycraps in general.

    – Bang **==