Pledge, Motto Cases To Be Heard By Federal Appeals Court

Protesters are gathering outside the courthouse where a Sacramento atheist is taking his arguments to remove God from the Pledge of Allegiance and U.S. currency.

About 20 protesters carrying signs opposing the use of God's name are demonstrating outside the building housing the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as a three-judge panel prepares to hear the case by Michael Newdow.

Newdow first sued the Elk Grove Unified School District in 2000 for forcing public school children to recite the pledge, saying it was unconstitutional.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Newdow's favor in 2002.

But two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Newdow lacked standing to sue because he didn't have custody of his elementary school daughter on whose behalf he filed the complaint.

Newdow then filed a second suit on behalf of three unidentified parents and their children.

The panel that is hearing arguments today will also hear arguments in Newdow's case against the nation's motto, "In God We Trust."

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