In a ruling Wednesday that reverberated all the way to U.S. Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts' Senate confirmation hearings, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton breathed fresh life into a Sacramento atheist's campaign to ban the pledge from schools because it contains the phrase "under God."

For now, the ruling only applies to a handful of Sacramento area school districts, but it rekindled the kind of response that took place three years ago, when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals surprised the country by declaring the pledge unconstitutional because it amounted to government-endorsed religion. The Supreme Court eventually scrapped that ruling on procedural grounds, but Michael Newdow, the atheist and lawyer behind the previous and current pledge challenges, is hoping Karlton's decision is the first step toward a return to the high court.

KRT Wire | 09/14/2005 | Reciting Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, judge rules


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