(CN) – The Supreme Court declined to review a finding that the United States’ use of the slogan “In God We Trust” as an inscription on U.S. currency and as a national motto does not violate the Constitution’s separation of church and state.
Litigious atheist Michael Newdow had appealed the 9th Circuit’s March 2010 decision, which found that the slogan represents patriotism – not government endorsement of religion.
In a separate ruling the same day, the 9th Circuit had also ruled against Newdow’s challenge to the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. This was the second suit over the pledge that filed by Newdow, who is a lawyer, a medical doctor and a minister in an atheist church. A different panel of the 9th Circuit agreed with Newdow in 2002 that “under God” was an impermissible religious message, but the Supreme Court dismissed the suit because it found Newdow lacked standing to sue on behalf of his daughter since the child’s mother had custody of her.
Newdow has not yet appealed the 9th Circuit’s dismissal of his second suit over the pledge, which was filed on behalf of parents in the Sacramento area.
In the dispute over “In God We Trust,” Newdow claimed that the inscription violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which mandates the separation of church and state. A federal appeals panel from San Francisco upheld the district court’s dismissal of the case in 2010 because Newdow failed to “state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
The injuries he claimed to have suffered because of the national motto don’t confer standing because they can’t be traced back to the government, the court ruled.
In declining to pick up the case on Monday, the Supreme Court did not issue any comment, as is its custom.
Newdow, who founded of the First Atheist Church of True Science, has also been unsuccessful in his attempt to remove religious references, such as the phrase “so help me God” in the presidential oath, from inaugural ceremonies. Earlier this year, Newdow vowed to help another atheist with a lawsuit against an Illinois law that mandates a moment of silence in public schools.