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A federal appeals court upheld the use of the words “under G-d” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In G-d We Trust” on U.S. currency, rejecting arguments that the phrases violate the separation of church and state.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected challenges by Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow, who says references to G-d are unconstitutional. The underlying lawsuit reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004, and the High Court said Newdow lacked standing since he did not have custody of his daughter, on whose behalf he claimed to bring the case. So he filed another case using children of other atheist parents to overcome the standing issue and object to the recitation of the pledge at school. In 2005, a federal judge in Sacramento decided in Newdow’s favor, prompting the appeals court to take up the case again. Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the majority in Thursday’s 2-1 ruling finding that “[t]he Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded,” he said. Newbow says he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court again!

Last fall I gave a constitutional law lecture at Chapman Law School discussing the Newbow case and various religious tests articulated by the High Court. A video clip of this panel discussion can be seen here under ‘Appearances’ entitled “The 9th Circuit Powerhouse:
Pending Cases, Pending Outcomes Pending Precedents, and Pending Problems?”. Chapman Law School

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  1. Darren Le Montree says:

    This will be an easy case for the US Supreme Court to affirm (if they were to take it up). Since no particular religious belief is endorsed, it doesn’t violate the establishment clause. There also seems to be this sense among most of the opinions that things like the pledge and the “in God we trust” on coins are basically grandfathered in given historical use. Someone intending to place a big huge cross on government land, teach creationism instead of evolution or hold prayer sessions as part of a public school’s curriculum shouldn’t get too excited. We still have separation of church and state, thank God!

  2. charle says:

    I am 67 years old and every school I
    ever attended , we always recited the
    pledge of allegiance. How can narrow minded people object to that? Well,
    of course the communists would object….I forgot about them.

  3. shaniqua says:

    It just seems respectful and creates a
    bond with all americans at a early age.
    I hope the court will prevail with a
    logical sane explanation why the pledge
    of allegiance should not be altered or removed from schools.

  4. thomas hill says:

    my mother and father are totally confused as to why the pledge of allegiance is being attacked in the
    courts and quite frankly, so am I.

  5. claudine says:

    There are always those elements who cannot fathom freedom for americans
    to encourage their children to be
    God fearing…law abiding….respectful
    and loyal to america.

  6. Maria says:

    my husband and I are aggravated over
    this issue because we want our children
    to recite the pledge of allegiance and
    feel strong sense of pride for being
    an american citizen.

  7. Dee Jay says:

    “In God We Trust” was only recently added in l954. I want it taken out, so people can have a choice to put their trust somewhere else, like in the Might Dollar.

  8. j-me says:

    Good thing I am not an atheist because forcing my children to say in g-d we trust would be completely against my belief system. I say take it out, and let people thank their g-d in teh churches/synagogues and temples, not in their public schools.

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