Supreme Court Allows 'In God We Trust' to Remain on Gov't Building

The Supreme Court allowed the phrase “In God We Trust” to remain on a North Carolina government building after declining to review a case brought forward by lawyers who said the inscription was unconstitutional.

The case involved 18-inch block letters prominently displayed atop the Davidson County Government Center in Lexington, N.C. The letters had been paid for by donations from churches. The name of the building, in smaller letters, was the only other writing on the face of the building, according to court documents.

“In this situation, the reasonable observer must be deemed aware of the patriotic uses, both historical and present, of the phrase ‘In God We Trust,’” ruled the lower court, according to the Associated Press.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled that the lawsuit did not pass the commonly used test to determine if there is a violation of the Establishment clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Plaintiffs opposing the inscription in the Lambeth v. Board of Commissioners of Davidson County case failed to show the three common objections: that there was no legitimate secular purpose to the display, that it had the effect of endorsing religion, or that it created “excessive entanglement” between the government and religion.

The case was filed by Charles F. Lambeth Jr. and Michael D. Lea who practice law in the Government Center.

George Daly, an attorney from Charlotte N.C. for the plaintiffs had argued that the “In God We Trust” phrase is the national motto but “also a religious creed, a statement of communal religious belief,” according to AP.

The phrase “In God We Trust” was first placed on coins in 1865. In 1854, it was adopted as the national motto by an Act of Congress. Other places where it can be seen in Government are inscribed above the chair where the speaker of the House of Representative sits. It is also above the entrance to the U.S. Senate Chamber.

Another court case involving the “In God We Trust” phrase may soon begin. Michael Newdow, an atheist from California, says he intends to file a suit to remove the phrase from all U.S. currency. Newdow is also suing to remove “under God” from the pledge of Allegiance.