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BREAKING NEWS ~ Federal judge rules Pledge recitation in public schools unconstitutional

[JURIST] AP is reporting that a federal judge in San Francisco has ruled that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance [JURIST news archive] in public schools with the language "under God" is unconstitutional. The judge granted legal standing to two families represented by Michael Newdow [JURIST news archive], an atheist who unsuccessfully challenged [JURIST report] the constitutionality of the Pledge last year before the US Supreme Court, which dismissed his suit [opinion text] for lack of standing without passing on the merits of the constitutionality issue (the high court held the divorced Newdow could not sue on behalf of his daughter because he did not have sufficient custody to qualify as her legal representative). The judge held that he was bound by a previous 2002 US Ninth Circuit ruling [PDF text] rejecting the constitutionality of the Pledge. Review materials on the latest case, including the amended complaint [PDF], on Michael Newdow's website.

2:50 PM ET - AP now has more.

4:45 PM ET - The ruling by Judge Lawrence Karlton [official profile] (sitting in Sacramento, not in San Francisco as originally reported by wire services) is now online [PDF] via FindLaw.

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