Press Release

A pagan, an atheist, and God walk into court: two religion cases are no joke Possible Supreme Court cases, court to hear lawsuits on legislative prayer and national motto

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear arguments Wednesday and Friday in two separate activist-led lawsuits that will influence the role of religion in the public square.

In Bormuth v. Jackson County, a Pagan activist with a long history of anti-religious lawsuits is trying to force county commissioners to stop opening their meetings with voluntary prayer, even though the Supreme Court unanimously protected legislative prayer in the landmark 2014 decision, Town of Greece v. Galloway. If the Sixth Circuit follows that unanimous decision, its ruling will likely conflict with a legislative prayer case currently at the Fourth Circuit, Lund v. Rowan County, making another Supreme Court case is very likely.

In New Doe Child # 1 v. The Congress of the United States, atheist activist Dr. Michael Newdow is suing the government yet again – after losing in his previous attempts – to strip the national motto, “In God We Trust,” from all U.S. coins and bills. Becket filed friend-of-the-court briefs in both cases to protect religion in public life.

Becket Counsels Daniel Blomberg and Diana Verm

Oral Arguments in Bormuth v. Jackson County and New Doe Child # 1 v. The Congress of the United States

Bormuth v. Jackson County: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. EST
New Doe Child # 1 v. The Congress of the United States: Today, June 16, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. EST

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
100 East Fifth Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.


Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. For over 20 years, it has defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more).