For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: October 14, 2003

Wasden Welcomes Supreme Court Review of Pledge of Allegiance Case

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden welcomed today’s announcement that the United States Supreme Court will review a lower court’s ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has twice ruled that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

“The Ninth Circuit’s decision is in conflict with the Seventh Circuit and previous opinions of the Supreme Court,” Attorney General Wasden said. “I was confident that the Supreme Court would review this case. Nevertheless, today’s announcement is a welcome step. It is also encouraging that, in reframing the question, the Supreme Court noted that the issue is whether a public school district policy that requires teachers to lead willing students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the words “under God,” violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as applicable through the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Wasden and Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson sponsored a “friend of the court” brief encouraging the Supreme Court to hear the case. The attorneys general of all the states joined them in support of Supreme Court review.

Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is the legislatively enacted policy in most states. Currently, 44 states have laws providing for recitation of the Pledge. All of the state statutes include a provision protecting the right of students to refrain from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

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