.- A federal court judge ruled Wednesday that the words “under God” render the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional. District Judge Lawrence Karlton said that the phrase violates a student’s right to be ``free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.''
The judge said he was bound by precedent set in 2002 when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it was unconstitutional to recite the pledge in public schools.
California’s Michael Newdow, a professed atheist, had brought both cases before the court--this time on behalf of three unnamed sets of parents.
Judge Karlton added that he would sign a restraining order to prevent the pledge from being said in Elk Grove Unified, Rio Linda and Elverta Joint Elementary school districts. All are in Sacramento County, where the plaintiffs' children attend school.
Karen England of the Capital Resource Institute responded to the ruling saying "This federal court decision highlights the crucial importance of our president carefully selecting what type of judges are appointed to the bench.”
“Many judges are bent on rewriting the Constitution to suit their own extremist ideology. And this does a great disservice to everyone in our country, including our school children who will be most affected by Karlton's ruling."
"The founders of our country”, she added, “realized the importance of acknowledging a Creator God who gives us inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by a human government. Stripping away all reference to God in the public square puts us on uncertain footing regarding our inalienable rights.”