(Washington, DC) - The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) announced today it is "extremely pleased" that a federal district court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation challenging the engravings of the national motto and Pledge of Allegiance at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ, representing 50 members of Congress, filed an amicus brief in the case asking the court to reject the suit saying it "borders on frivolous" and serves no purpose other "than to waste judicial resources."
"We're extremely pleased that the federal district court reached the very conclusion that we advocated - the plaintiffs lack legal standing and this flawed lawsuit should be dismissed," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "This challenge was another misguided attempt to alter history and purge America of religious references. The national motto and the Pledge of Allegiance displayed in the Capitol Visitor Center merely echo the sentiments found in the Declaration of Independence. In our view, Congress acted appropriately by including these expressions in the center -- expressions that are consistent with the Constitution."
In an opinion issued yesterday by the U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin, the court dismissed the suit and concluded that the plaintiffs failed to establish standing in the case. The decision is posted here.
The ACLJ's amicus brief contended that this lawsuit should be dismissed.
"Plaintiffs' crusade, targeting of religious expression in the federal government, serves no purpose other than to waste judicial resources at a time in our Nation's history when those resources are needed in cases involving real threats to American liberties," the brief asserted. "Moreover, if Plaintiffs are successful, it will undoubtedly embolden further challenges to other religious expressions in government venues, including the several religious works of art and various religious inscriptions in the Capitol Complex, as well as the prayer rooms in House and Senate Office buildings."
Contending the lawsuit "borders on frivolous," the brief argued that both the national motto and Pledge of Allegiance accurately reflect the historical fact that our nation was founded on a belief in God and that the constitutionality of both is well established in case law.
The ACLJ represented itself and 50 members of the 111th Congress 47 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 3 members of the U.S. Senate. The lawmakers represented in the brief:
United States Representative Randy Forbes, Congressional Prayer Caucus Chairman, United States Senators Jim DeMint, James Inhofe, and Roger Wicker, and United States Representatives Robert Aderholt, Todd Akin, Rodney Alexander, Michele Bachmann, Roscoe Bartlett, Rob Bishop, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, John Boozman, Dan Burton, Eric Cantor, Mike Conaway, Virginia Foxx, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Ralph Hall, Gregg Harper, Jeb Hensarling, Bob Inglis, Sam Johnson, Walter Jones, Jim Jordan, Steve King, John Kline, Doug Lamborn, Don Manzullo, Kevin McCarthy, Thaddeus McCotter, Patrick McHenry, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Candice Miller, Jeff Miller, Jerry Moran, Randy Neugebauer, Mike Pence, Joseph Pitts, Ted Poe, John Shadegg, John Shimkus, Bill Shuster, Mark Souder, Todd Tiahrt, Zack Wamp, Joe Wilson, and Don Young.
The ACLJ brief, which was filed with the federal district court in Wisconsin, is available here.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.
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