March 24 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled they have few concerns about the practice of asking public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “under God.”
The justices, hearing arguments in Washington on perhaps the highest-profile case of their 2003-04 term, aimed a barrage of questions at Michael Newdow, a California atheist who says daily recitations of the pledge at his daughter’s school interferes with his right to teach her his beliefs.
Several justices questioned Newdow’s contention that the pledge, with its reference to “one nation, under God,” is akin to a prayer and thereby violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
“You may disagree that it’s ‘under God.’ You may disagree that it’s `liberty and justice for all,”’ Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said, referring to another part of the pledge. “That doesn’t make it a prayer.”