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Ohio's State Motto Upheld

On March 16, 2001, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled 9-4 that Ohio's 42 year-old state motto, "With God, all things are possible," is constitutional. The Court ruled that the motto does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which forbids Congress from making any law "respecting an establishment of religion."

The full appeals court reversed a 2-1 decision by a panel of three Sixth Circuit judges that found the motto to be unconstitutional last April. The appeals court agreed with the lower trial court and found that the motto is not an endorsement by the state of Christianity and is permissible as long as the state does not attribute the words to their source (Jesus) from the New Testament.

The American Civil Liberties Union representing a Presbyterian minister had sued the state arguing that the motto equaled a state endorsement of Christianity and violated the separation of church and state.

Return to Legal Archive 2001 Index