Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Take a look at a dollar bill or a coin. Ever noticed the phrase, "In God We Trust?"
Yeah, me neither. But thanks to 31 U.S.C. §§ 5112(d)(1) and 5114(b), the slogan is mandatory on coinage and paper currency. Eleven individuals, including a coin collector, a teacher, atheists, secular humanists, and others, all argue that they are harmed by the placement of the slogan.
It might've been an interesting argument -- if it weren't the umpteenth time the argument has been brought, unsuccessfully, in federal court.
Fifth Time's Not a Charm
Though this was an issue of first impression in the Second Circuit, it certainly wasn't the first challenge to monotheistic money. In chronological order:
SCOTUS Bonus Dicta
Of course, the Second Circuit didn't rely upon a laundry list of sister circuit citations alone -- it also relied upon past dicta from the Supreme Court, as well as a brief application of the Lemon v. Kurtzman test, which is still the law of the land in the Second Circuit. The first two prongs (a secular purpose, neither advances nor inhibits religion) are at issue here.
Fortunately, though the Supreme Court doesn't seem to have addressed the issue directly, it has mentioned the slogan in positive terms when dealing with other cases. O'Connor, in a concurrence, noted a secular purpose of "solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society," while Brennan argued that the slogan had "lost through rote repetition any significant religious content," and was therefore protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny.
A Religious Freedom Restoration Act (42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1) challenge also failed because the court held that there was no substantial burden on individuals that have to carry and use money that bears the slogan.
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