October 15, 2009

(Washington, DC) — The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, today filed an amicus brief asking a federal appeals court to uphold the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the phrase "So help me God" in the Presidential inaugural oath as well as prayers at the inauguration ceremony itself. The ACLJ's amicus brief urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to uphold a lower court decision issued in January rejecting a lawsuit filed by some 30 plaintiffs including California atheist Michael Newdow.

"This is just one more attempt to carry on a relentless crusade to purge all religious expression in the federal government," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "The federal district court correctly dismissed this suit and we're confident that the federal appeals court will uphold that decision. This legal challenge has no merit and is nothing more than a continuation of a flawed attempt to remove all religious references and observances from American public life. This continuing challenge has wasted untold judicial resources — resources that are clearly needed in cases involving real threats to American liberties."

In its brief filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the ACLJ urges the appeals court to affirm the lower court decision dismissing Newdow's suit and argues that the legal challenge lacks standing and is without merit.

You can read the ACLJ amicus brief filed today here.

In January, days before the Presidential inauguration, a federal district court rejected Newdow's challenge and refused to block the inaugural prayer saying the plaintiffs lacked standing because they failed to show harm that would result from the prayers taking place.

The ACLJ also filed an amicus brief with the federal district court in January arguing that Newdow's suit "must not be permitted to move forward" noting that references to God at inaugurations date back to the very origins of this country. The ACLJ amicus brief filed with the federal district court is posted here.

In the brief filed with the federal appeals court today, the ACLJ states: "Newdow has filed no less than nine lawsuits, and has wasted untold judicial resources. His targeting of religious expression at Presidential inaugurations is particularly meritless given the controlling decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983)."

Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.