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June 11, 2003
Gregoire seeks review of Pledge of Allegiance case

Olympia - Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire said today she will join other state attorneys general in urging the United States Supreme Court to review the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ruled the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.

Gregoire and 49 other attorneys general have joined the amicus curiae, or "friend of the court" brief, which asks the Supreme Court to review the 9th Circuit's decision in the case of Newdow v. United States of America and Elk Grove Unified School District.

Last December, the 9th Circuit held in that case that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Gregoire said other courts have ruled that brief voluntary ceremonial references do not pose a danger of establishing an official religion or suppressing an individual's exercise of their beliefs. "The Supreme Court should step in and ensure that as one nation, we have a consistent rule of law," she said.

Washington's law provides that "pupils so desiring" shall recite the pledge. Gregoire said the court should review the 9th Circuit decision because it would invalidate the Pledge of Allegiance laws in Washington and 40 other states.

Similar laws, recently enacted, will soon take effect in three states. 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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