On March 11, 2010, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a teacher-led recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools does not [PDF] violate the constitution. Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow had challenged the practice on behalf of several families, arguing that the phrase "under God" violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In reversing a lower court decision [PDF] that had ruled in Newdow's favor, the appeals court ruled 2-1 that the Pledge of Allegiance did not violate the Establishment Clause. It said that because Congress' predominant purpose was to inspire patriotism, the phrase "one Nation under God" did not turn reciting the pledge into a religious activity.
Learn more about Michael Newdow and the First Amendment from the JURIST news archives.