"A federal judge said Monday [July 18, 2005] he is inclined to dismiss part of a lawsuit brought by a Sacramento atheist who claims the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton said he would allow Michael Newdow, a doctor and lawyer, to sue four Sacramento-area school districts where children he is representing attend and recite the pledge. The judge said Newdow could not challenge the pledge itself and the words 'under God,' which Congress inserted in 1954.
If the judge stands by his comments Monday, Newdow's latest lawsuit would focus strictly on whether reciting the pledge in public schools is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Even if Newdow were to win on that point, the pledge itself would remain intact.
The judge said Newdow may have a valid point.
Newdow's lawsuit was filed against the school districts, the state and Congress and seeks to have the entire pledge declared unconstitutional...
Eight co-plaintiffs have joined the latest lawsuit, all of whom are children or custodial parents who have filed the suit on behalf of their children, Newdow said. The plaintiffs' names have been withheld from the suit for fear of physical harm...
Karlton did not indicate when he would issue a written ruling."
The case is Newdow v. Congress, 05-00017.
July 18, 2005 AP News