Federal Court Rules Pledge of Allegiance Does Not Violate Constitution
Western state schools can now continue to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the words “under God” after a Federal court ruled in favor of it.
The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Thursday, March 11, that the words “under God” recited in the Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the constitutional provision of separation of church and state. It stated that the statement was patriotic and ceremonial, not religious in nature. The ruling won by 2-1 vote.
Ironically, it is the very same court that ruled the pledge unconstitutional in 2002.
The court ruled that children are not required to stand and recite the pledge. Parents argued that pressure for social conformance infringes the rights of their children to not follow other students.
The suit was filed by Michael Newdow, an atheist. He filed several similar cases, one reaching the US Supreme Court in 2004. His claim was placed in behalf of his daughter. It was dismissed since he does not hold legal custody of the child. Newdow then recruited several other atheist parents to renew the case.
The Supreme Court previously ruled out that mentioning God or religion by the government in public settings does not necessarily means violation of the constitution, such as opening a legislative session with a prayer.
The words “In God We Trust” in US monetary bills and coins were also ruled by the appeals court that it does not violate the constitution.
The rulings however are only in effect at 11 states and territories covered by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals.