Pledge Ruling Denounced

Federal Appeals Court Judge Alfred Goodwin wrote that the phrase "one nation under God" violates the separation of Church and State. But Thursday he blocked his own ruling from being enforced.

Mississippi Cong. Chip Pickering and Wisconsin's James Sensenbrenner introduced a resolution to express the sense that that the ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the wrong decision and must be overturned.

"It's a sad day when our courts say it's constitutional to have pornography but not constitutional to say the Pledge of Allegiance," said Pickering. "We will fight this to the end. I introduced a Constitutional Amendment yesterday to make sure that the Pledge of Allegiance continues to be constitutional. We'll fight this to the very end."

In a news release, Pickering's Democratic opponent, Cong. Ronnie Shows, said the ruling, "flies in the face of every veteran who sacrificed their lives to protect this nation."

A legal scholar said Thursday's decision is a sign that the 9th Circuit judges are aware the full appeals court will likely review the ruling.

State Rep. Greg Snowden, an attorney, noted that the Mississippi Legislature this year passed a law mandating the Pledge of Allegiance be recited daily in school classrooms, as well as the proper display of the American Flag.

However, Snowden said the appeals court ruling would only affect Mississippi if the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed it.

"I think our new bill was really in the wake of 9-11," said Snowden. "It was in the spirit of patriotism and Americanism that we've all experienced since then."

The Mississippi law takes effect July 1. It does allow for any student or teacher who objects to be excused without penalty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.