A losing streak for litigious atheists got longer last week when a federal appellate panel in New York voted to leave "In God We Trust" on greenbacks and coins, a legal analyst said on Monday.
Eric Baxter, senior counsel for the Becket Fund, told Newsmax TV that the New York ruling was the latest setback of many for non-believers who want references to God stricken from all government-sponsored settings.
Whether advocates of a God-free public square will be deterred is another question.
"They certainly seem to be stubborn in the face of multiple losses on this issue," said Baxter, whose organization defends religious freedom of expression.
One serial plaintiff in particular, atheist Michael Newdow, is behind several church-and-state separation tests, including last week's decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals' Second Circuit in New York, Baxter told "America's Forum" host J.D. Hayworth and Newsmax contributor Morgan Thompson.
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In that case, Bronx-born physician-turned-lawyer Newdow had sued the U.S. Mint, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
"He's running out of places where he can lose these lawsuits," Baxter said of Newdow. "He's brought lawsuits in some of the most liberal states in the country and some of the most liberal federal jurisdictions, and the courts have repeatedly told him that mentions of God — on the coins, 'in God we trust' or 'under God' in the Pledge [of Allegiance] — these are not an establishment of religion that violates the Constitution."
Asked whether atheists will just keep litigating until the federal bench turns more liberal, Baxter argued that it wouldn't matter.
"A realignment on the Supreme Court on this particular issue is not likely," said Baxter, citing last month's ruling in favor of legislative prayer
at town council meetings in Greece, N.Y. The court split over the kinds of prayers allowed but, said Baxter, "was really unanimous" on legislative prayer in principle.
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