(1st Add: Includes comments by Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.).)
(CNSNews.com) - The White House Wednesday called a California appeals court ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance "wrong," and announced that the Justice Department plans to take action.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the pledge is unconstitutional and should not be recited in schools, because the phrase "under God" violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
"The view of the White House is that this was a wrong decision and the Department of Justice is now evaluating how to seek redress," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
"The Declaration of Independence refers to God as the creator four different times. Congress begins each session of the Congress each day with a prayer and our currency says 'In God We Trust,'" he said.
Fleischer emphasized that the decision is one from a circuit court that only affects nine states and not a national court decision.
"I think that people are very naturally ... going to react strongly opposed to this," he said. "I think this decision will not sit well with the American people and it certainly does not sit well with the president of the United States.
"I think most Americans have faith in God, and they are going to express [their faith] and the pledge everyday that they can," he said.
Meanwhile, Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition said the ruling should be a wake-up call for President Bush to appoint more conservative court judges -- even if it means bypassing the Senate.
"We can expect more anti-God decisions like the one just handed down by the judicial tyrants in San Francisco, if we don't get good conservative judges on the federal bench," Sheldon said. "Senators Daschle, Leahy, and McCain need to get out of the way and confirm Bush's nominees quickly.
"We're sick and tired of Tom Daschle blocking the confirmation of God-fearing judges like Charles Pickering," he continued. "Americans want men like Pickering on the bench who respect America's religious heritage and understand that we truly are a nation under God.
"If Senators Daschle, Leahy, and McCain don't get out of the way this week, I think it's time for President Bush to begin making recess appointments of his judicial nominees," he said. "Enough is enough!"
Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, vowed to go a step further if needed.
"If necessary, I will offer a constitutional amendment to ensure Americans can voluntarily say the [Pledge of Allegiance] in public and private settings without being in violation of the law," said Graham.
"The reference in the Pledge to being 'one nation under God' is in no way the establishment of religion by the government. If America ever needed God's blessing and guidance, it's now," he concluded.
Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), who serves on the House Financial Services, Judicial, and Government Reform Committees, reacted angrily to the appeals' court decision, calling it "idiotic." He also called on judges to stop accepting taxpayer-funded paychecks.
"I fully expect this outrageous decision will be overturned by the Supreme Court, and in the meantime, call on these liberal judges to stop accepting their taxpayer paychecks as they are no doubt offended by the words 'In God We Trust' on all U.S. currency." Barr said in a statement.
"This unbelievable decision, more so than any other, highlights the importance of approving President Bush's judicial nominees, which, for many months now, have been blocked by the Democrat-controlled Senate," he said.
"I wonder what Senator Daschle thinks of this decision because he continues to prevent the consideration of judges who disagree with these liberal activists on the 9th Circuit Court," Barr concluded.See Related Stories:
Pledge of Allegiance 'Unconstitutional,' Court Says (June 26, 2002)
Senate Passes Resolution Against Pledge Ruling (June 26, 2002)
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