Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Gerald C. Kops

Number of Pages



The United States Congress adopted the Pledge of Allegiance into the United States Flag Code in 1942. The majority of states had adopted a school wide daily recitation of the Pledge into their education statutes to fulfill the teaching of civics. In 1954, Congress added the words "under God" to the Pledge. The insertion of those two words was to distinguish the United States as a religious country as opposed to the atheistic beliefs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The issue becomes whether or not a government lead recitation of the Pledge constitutes a violation of the Establishment Clause as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1992, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found the Pledge policy in public schools did not violate the Establishment Clause. In 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the Pledge policy was a violation. The conflict between the two appellate court decisions was presented before the United States Supreme Court; The purpose of this study was to examine Supreme Court Establishment Clause jurisprudence regarding the Pledge as applied to the educational setting. Arguments on both sides were examined to give administrators insight in the determination of decisions made concerning Establishment Clause issues in their school and district policies. The study also examined the implications of the Court's decision and the issues left unanswered; The following research questions were addressed to determine an analysis of the issue: (1) How did the Supreme Court resolve the conflict between the lower courts? (2) What were the major arguments that influenced the Court's decision? (3) What was the jurisprudence of the concurring Justices? (4) Has the Court's decision left unresolved issues? (5) Have new issues emerged as a result of the Court's decision? (6) What are the implications of the decision for school leaders and school administration? (7) Does the decision offer guidance for addressing future disputes regarding the interpretation and application of the Establishment Clause?;Because the analysis of this study utilized legal research, the writing style contained in this dissertation was a combination of APA and the Harvard Blue Book.


Analysis; California; District; Elk; Elk Grove Unified School District V. Newdow; Jurisprudence; Newdow; Pledge Of Allegiance

Controlled Subject

School management and organization; Law

File Format


File Size

5304.32 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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