A multi-year challenge put forth by California atheist Michael Newdow is finally over. The Supreme Court of the United States has said it will not review a decision by a federal appeals court that upheld the constitutionality of using our national motto - "In God We Trust" - on our nation's coins and currency.
You'll recall this is a legal battle that has spanned many years. One year ago, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of using the national motto on coins and currency saying the phrase is ceremonial and patriotic and "has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion."
In fact, the appeals court ruled that Newdow, who brought the challenge, "did not and cannot cite a single Supreme Court case that called into question the mottos constitutionality. . ." The appeals court also noted that its decision is consistent with other decisions upholding the constitutionality of the National Motto. You can read the decision here.
Were pleased that the judicial system has rejected yet another attempt to re-write history. In fact, we represented nearly 50 members of Congress in an amicus brief in this legal marathon that dates back to 2006.
"In God We Trust" was first put on U.S. coins in the 1860's and on paper currency in the 1950's.
Here's the good news. The Supreme Court put an end to this legal challenge, permitting the appeals court decision upholding the constitutionality of the national motto to stand.
We have battled Newdow on this issue and others - including the use of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Here's the bottom line: It always has been our position that while the First Amendment affords atheists complete freedom to disbelieve, it does not compel the federal judiciary to redact religious references in every area of public life in order to suit atheistic sensibilities.
Newdow's reaction to being turned down by the Supreme Court is predictable. He told a reporter he was disappointed and that he would re-file the lawsuit elsewhere.
We will be ready.
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