Tennessee Attorney General: Bill Requiring “In God We Trust” License Plates May Violate the Law March 28, 2017

Tennessee Attorney General: Bill Requiring “In God We Trust” License Plates May Violate the Law

Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery III is finally stating the obvious: A GOP plan to put the words “In God We Trust” on every license plate issued in the state may be unconstitutional.


SB 1355, sponsored by State Sen. Paul Bailey, and the companion bill HB 26, sponsored by State Rep. Bill Sanderson, says that the change would occur as early as this summer if the bill passes.

But Slatery says the state could be subject to a lawsuit if the words become mandatory. He argues in an opinion that making an “In God We Trust” plate optional is the best way to go.

Slatery does make note of the historic context of the phrase, but concludes that the phrase “clearly has religious overtones,” and would likely violate the establishment clause, the free exercise clause and the free speech of the Constitution.

“An operator of a vehicle that displays a registration plate bearing the phrase “In God We Trust” conveys a message that could be viewed as a religious affirmation of the operator’s belief in the existence of God,” Slatery writes.

It’s also worth mentioning that changing all the license plates would cost taxpayers an estimated $19 million. God’s one hell of an expensive date.

As I’ve written before, this is merely another way Christian legislators are using the government to promote their religion. It would be unacceptable to them if any other group tried to do the same thing — can you imagine forcing the phrase “In God We Don’t Trust” on every license plate? — and that’s the same reason this ought to be unacceptable now.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier.)

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