Source: The Associated Press
On February 28, 2003 The Associated Press reported that "a federal appeals court Friday refused to reconsider its ruling that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional because of the words 'under God...' The case could go next to the U.S. Supreme Court... Attorney General John Ashcroft condemned the decision and said the Justice Department will 'spare no effort to preserve the rights of all our citizens to pledge allegiance to the American flag.' But he stopped short of saying the administration will appeal to the high court... It was not immediately clear when the ban might take effect for the millions of public school students in those states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Appellate rulings take several weeks to take effect, to give each side an opportunity to appeal... The challenge was brought by Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow, who objected to his 8-year-old daughter's listening to the words 'under God' in school. The words were added by Congress in 1954 during the Cold War to distinguish democracy from 'godless Communism.'"