The Supreme Court passed on taking up a case disputing the inclusion of the national motto of “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins and currency without even giving it a comment.
The highest court rejected hearing the case from a group of atheists represented by activist Michael Newdow that posed the constitutional question of whether or not the inclusion of the motto on U.S. currency “violates the Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment.
According to the group, it “perpetuates and exacerbates the political disenfranchisement of atheists,” who Newdow claimed were “the nation’s most politically disenfranchised ‘protected class.'”
The Establishment Clause makes it illegal for Congress to establish a national religion, and the national motto itself has appeared on all U.S. currency and coins since 1955 and was first used on coins in 1864.
Newdow claimed in the suit that “mandating the inscription of facially religious text on every coin and currency bill” made those who choose not to practice a religion “‘political outsiders’ on the basis of their fundamental religious tenant.”
The attorney had faced a loss in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the suit last year, which stated that including the motto on currency “comports with early understandings of the Establishment Clause” and did not coerce people into practicing a religion.
The Supreme Court justices rejected the case without comment.
This is not the first time Newdow challenged the mention of “God” in American institutions.
In 2004, Newdow claimed that including the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance violated the First Amendment in a case that did not go over well with the Supreme Court.
He also tried to prevent the phrase “so help me God” from being used by Chief Justice John Roberts in the inaugurations of former Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and current President Donald Trump.