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"Unconstitutional laws still on books cause confusion in NJ"

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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From AP/Newsday.com:

Numerous state laws that have been struck down as unconstitutional are still on the books in New Jersey, a situation some experts say could be rectified if the laws were just removed. Others say it’s not that easy.

Some of the laws are simply outdated, such as one that limits the amount of money county jails can spend to feed inmates to 50 cents per day.

Other laws have caused more controversy. Some high school students have been suspended for refusing to stand during the morning Pledge of Allegiance, according to Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

The suspensions would appear to be supported by a state law that requires all students “show full respect to the flag” by standing during the pledge even if they don’t recite it. But the law was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court in 1978.

This is quite typical in common-law countries, at least. Actually, it’s probably worse than it seems, since judge-made common-law also continues beyond its immediate use, and may be even less accessible to most people that legislative statutes. And, of course, multiply this by 50 states, a few territories, and the federal government, and you’ve got a really big mess!