WASHINGTON – (Business Wire) The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) – dedicated to the defense of constitutional liberties secured by law – announced today it has filed an amicus brief on behalf of 44 members of Congress asking a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the engravings of the national motto and Pledge of Allegiance at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. The amicus brief argues the display of “In God, We Trust” and the reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the suit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation “borders on frivolous” and serves no purpose other “than to waste judicial resources.”
“The fact is that Congress acted appropriately and consistent with the Constitution with the inclusion of the national motto and the Pledge of Allegiance in the Capitol Visitor Center,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “These expressions echo the sentiments found in the Declaration of Independence and recognize the undeniable truth that our freedoms come from God. This challenge is another misguided attempt to alter history and purge America of religious references. We’re hopeful it will meet the same fate as other flawed challenges and be rejected by the court.”
The ACLJ represents itself and 44 members of the 111th Congress – 41 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 3 members of the U.S. Senate. The lawmakers represented in the brief:
U.S. Representative Randy Forbes, Congressional Prayer Caucus Chairman, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint, James Inhofe, and Roger Wicker, and U.S. Representatives Robert Aderholt, Todd Akin, 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, Thaddeus McCotter, Patrick McHenry, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jeff Miller, Randy Neugebauer, Mike Pence, Joseph Pitts, John Shadegg, John Shimkus, Bill Shuster, Mark Souder, Zack Wamp, Joe Wilson, and Don Young.
The friend-of-the-court brief contends 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 asserts. “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 argues 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.
Further, the brief contends that the First Amendment does not compel the redaction of all references to God just to suit atheistic preferences. The brief states: “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.”
The ACLJ brief was filed with the U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin. You can read the ACLJ amicus brief here:
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice is dedicated to the defense of constitutional liberties secured by law and is based in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ is online at www.aclj.org.