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Committee Urges Bush to Appeal Pledge Ruling

The House Judiciary Committee urged the Bush administration on Wednesday to appeal a court decision ruling the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional in public schools.

The committee voted 22-2 on the resolution. Two Democrats, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York and Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, voted against it. Eight Democrats voted present, criticizing the resolution as political grandstanding.

"Today's exercise is totally gratuitous," said Scott.

Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco stood by its earlier ruling that the words "under God" violated the Constitution's prohibition against official religion.

The White House criticized the ruling but hasn't said whether it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. The 9th Circuit Court, which covers nine Western states, has put its decision on hold pending such an appeal.

"The Pledge of Allegiance is clearly not a religious statement or prayer," said Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio. "It is a statement of allegiance to the ideas and principles upon which our nation was founded."

But Nadler said that argument suggested that God is unimportant.

"God is not minor," he said.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., called the resolution "a complete and utter waste of our time" and a "preposterous exercise in grandstanding." She eventually voted present.