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United States Ninth Circuit

Newdow v. Rio Linda Union Sch. Dist., 05-17257

In an Establishment Clause action by the atheist parent of a student challenging the recitation of the pledge of allegiance by other students in the school at issue, a judgment in favor of plaintiffs is reversed and an injunction vacated where the Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the Establishment Clause because Congress's ostensible and predominant purpose was to inspire patriotism and the context of the Pledge --its wording as a whole, the preamble to the statute, and this nation's history -- demonstrated that it was a predominantly patriotic exercise, despite its use of the words "under God." Thus, California's statute requiring school districts to begin the school day with an "appropriate patriotic exercise" does not violate the Establishment Clause even though it permits teachers to lead students in recitation of the Pledge.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 03/11/2010
  • Published 03/11/2010



  • United States Ninth Circuit


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