ACLJ & Key Members of Congress Urge Court to Dismiss Atheists' Challenge to National Motto | American Center for Law and Justice
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ACLJ, MOC Brief Defends National Motto

By Laura Hernandez1465844978021

Today, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed an amicus brief defending the National Motto from angry atheists who have brought yet another lawsuit asking the court to order the National Motto excised from the nation’s currency.  As we previously noted, atheists, represented by Michael Newdow, who is remarkably undeterred by consistent losses in courts around the country, have brought a federal court challenge, claiming this time that the mere presence of the National Motto on currency violates their Free Speech and Free Exercise Clause Rights.  To date, every court that has considered an Establishment Clause challenge to the National Motto on currency has rejected it.

Switching strategies, plaintiffs asserted that carrying currency equated to governmental compulsion to speak in support of the National Motto and to bear a “religiously offensive” message, in violation of the Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. As we argue in our brief, Plaintiffs’ latest challenge is a transparent attempt to “bootstrap” free speech and free exercise claims “onto the unanimously repudiated proposition that the National Motto is an unconstitutional government sponsorship of religion.”  

The brief we filed today on behalf of 50 Members of Congress, and the Committee to Protect the National Motto which consists of over 120,000 ACLJ members, urges the court to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ lawsuit, arguing that “while the First Amendment affords atheists complete freedom to disbelieve, it does not compel the federal judiciary to redact the national motto from the Nation’s currency.”

We explain to the court that “Plaintiffs’ quarrel is essentially with a foundational principle of America,” and “the national motto simply echoes the principle found in the Declaration of Independence that our freedoms come from God and not the state.” Our brief argues further that neither the free speech rights nor the free exercise rights of atheists are not impaired by seeing the National Motto on the currency.    Placing the National Motto on currency does not force atheists to do anything. The National Motto is the government’s message and no one would attribute that message to atheists or to any other person who happens to carry money.

Joining in the brief were J. Randy Forbes, Senator James Lankford, Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Steve Daines, Senator Jerry Moran, Robert Aderholt, Lou Barletta, Rob Bishop, Diane Black, Doug Collins, K. Michael Conaway, Kevin Cramer, Jeff Duncan, John Fleming, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Bob Goodlatte, Garret Graves, H. Morgan Griffith, Glenn Grothman, Gregg Harper, Vicky Hartzler, Jody Hice, Richard Hudson, Tim Huelskamp, Randy Hultgren, Bill Johnson, Sam Johnson, Walter Jones, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Robert Latta, Barry Loudermilk, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Tom McClintock, Jeff Miller, Randy Neugebauer, Dan Newhouse, Steven Palazzo, Steve Pearce, Robert Pittenger, Joe Pitts, Tom Price, John Ratcliffe, Peter Roskam, Pete Sessions, Michael R. Turner, Tim Walberg, Mark Walker, and Daniel Webster.

 With your invaluable support, we at the ACLJ are doing all that we can to ensure that angry atheists who waste federal court resources with absurd challenges to the National Motto continue to meet with failure.

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