Here is the complaint http://ffrf.org/uploads/legal/IGWTComplaint.pdf (a lengthy legal document)
I've only skimmed it but it looks like they have done a masterful job of showing that the intent of putting it on the money was to endorse religion, and that any claims to the contrary today (and if it's not religious, shitheads, why is it so important to you to keep the damn thing on?) are a sham. Read the claims at the end, starting on page 80.
They mention the relatively recent furore over IGWT being stamped into the edge of the dollar coins, along with the date, mint mark and "E Pluribus Unum." You get one guess which of these items had to be moved to the face of the coin according to legislation passed by congress!
[ I've personally written on this issue on a couple of occasions (historical background, mainly): http://letreasonreign.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/in-god-we-trust/ and here: http://letreasonreign.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/better-information-a... ]
And the punch line on page 93.
The usual suspects will have an absolute shit fit.
Mmmm very intersting. Can't wait to see what kind of headlines this generates.
Oh I expect a full blown fecal tornado.
I feel even worse for fellow Atheists in Indiana. Their license plate says "In God we trust"
Yeah I drove through there a couple years ago, and it made me retch.
Apparently, though, it's an optional plate, you don't *have* to have it.
I just finished reading the whole thing. I am a member of the FFRF and they make an excellent case. But never underestimate the power of a right-wing crackpot, once seated on the bench, to square the circle. That is what gave birth to the truly bizarre legal concept of "ceremonial deism", under which God has an entirely non-religious and secular purpose.
[T]he designation of "In God We Trust" as our national motto, or the references to God contained in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag can best be understood, in Dean Rostow's apt phrase, as a form a "ceremonial deism," protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content. - Supreme Court Justice Brennan, in Lynch v. Donnelly, 1984, which first used the term "ceremonial deism".
Later, another right-wing crackpot, Sandra Day O'Connor, elaborated on the concept of ceremonial deism by refusing to elaborate on the concept.
There are no de minimis violations of the Constitution – no constitutional harms so slight that the courts are obliged to ignore them. Given the values that the Establishment Clause was meant to serve, however, I believe that government can, in a discrete category of cases, acknowledge or refer to the divine without offending the Constitution. This category of "ceremonial deism" most clearly encompasses such things as the national motto ("In God We Trust"), religious references in traditional patriotic songs such as The Star-Spangled Banner, and the words with which the Marshal of this Court opens each of its sessions ("God save the United States and this honorable Court"). These references are not minor trespasses upon the Establishment Clause to which I turn a blind eye. Instead, their history, character, and context prevent them from being constitutional violations at all. - Supreme Court Justice O'Connor, Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, 2004
First, O'Connor hammers home the point that the court must not turn a blind eye to the slightest trespasses upon the Constitution. Then she turns a blind eye to the history, character and context that makes the meaning of "under God" and "In God We Trust" perfectly clear. She knows what they mean and she lets them stand anyway, without providing any reasonable explanation, which is supposed to be her job. The cowardice and dishonesty in that is absolutely sickening.
If this case finds its way to the Roberts Court under its current make-up, you can bet "ceremonial deism" will rear its ugly head again. One or two more of the Republican appointees needs to croak before something like this would have a chance.
I would like to clarify that the complaint you link to at FFRF is solely Newdow's work. FFRF is listed as one of the plaintiffs, but it is entirely his case from the standpoint of legal representation.
It is very well written and hopefully a step in the right direction. I just can't wait to see how Fox News spins this and tries to weasel their way around it.
I suspect that, in the light of a rapidly-changing playing field, the Defendants and their cohorts will, instead, strive to quell any storm as just another frivolous action by those FFRF nuts. I'll be VERY surprised if this motion were ever even heard by SCOTUS. They will contend that this case has already been heard and decided.
I'm delighted to see this filed, but I feel really sad, reading the list of claims, that ANY (much less all) of these claims could, in good faith, be argued against - much less refuted. What kind of government would bury such legitimate and obvious claims.
The only thing they say that I personally think is a bit of a reach is the claim that I am prosoletyzing by spending money. Maybe, instead, I am getting rid of it because of the shit that is printed on it.
In many cases, courts trying to duck having to rule on this sort of thing will find any tortured excuse to deny standing. I expect that to happen in this case.
related: a link to a tutorial on how to make stamps that protest "In God We Trust"