Newdow watch

On Friday, Michael Newdow lost a suit which requested that an injunction be issued forbidding President Bush from having ministers or other clergy take part in the inauguration ceremony this Thursday. While I am very sympathetic towards Newdow's overall message that atheists are not treated as equals in American public culture, I think the court was right to reject the request for an injunction. Essentially, I think there can be a meaningful distinction drawn by George W. Bush's actions as the government and his actions as an individual. I am not sure that George W. Bush acknowledges that distinction, since (among other things) he appears to think it's acceptable to use tax funds to pay a journalist to act as an advocate of policies that he is in favor of. But that's a separate matter. What is of import here is that if George W. Bush (the individual) wants ministers to offer prayers at a ceremony to celebrate his (wholly unfortunate) victory, I don't think this constitutes a government action at all, so it cannot be a government action in violation of the 1st Amendment. I should note that I have not studied establishment clause jurisprudence in any real way, and that this is just my uninformed take on the matter.