Alaska political leaders condemn court decision on pledge of allegiance

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska's congressional delegation and leading candidates in the governor's race condemned the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sen. Frank Murkowski labeled it ''extremist'' and said it shows that the 9th Circuit, which sprawls from Barrow to the Mexican border and includes Hawaii and Guam, should be broken into two circuits.

''This decision is truly shocking,'' Murkowski said. ''Sadly, for some time, I have commented on how the 9th Circuit has drifted far away from the morals and values of our society. This is just more proof.''

Murkowski's opponent in the Republican primary election, Anchorage attorney Wayne Anthony Ross, called the ruling ''outrageous.''

''If I had my way, those judges would be impeached,'' Ross said.

Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, a Democratic candidate for governor, said she disagrees with the ruling and predicted that the Supreme Court will reverse it.

''The Pledge of Allegiance in its current form has served a fundamental role in our schools for half a century, inspiring patriotism and commitment to the ideals this nation stands for,'' she said.

Sen. Ted Stevens said, ''I'm appalled at the decision and will join other senators in expressing our displeasure over this decision.''

Rep. Don Young said the ruling illustrates a ''liberal bias'' in the court, which doesn't serve Alaskans.

''The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals obviously doesn't understand the meaning of God,'' Young said.

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