Court Upholds 'In God We Trust' Plate

Appeals Court Says Plate Constitutional

The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a ruling Monday that affirmed Indiana's "In God We Trust" plates are constitutional.

The appeals court upheld an earlier trial court judgment against the ACLU of Indiana, which claimed that motorists who ask for God plates get special treatment because they don't have to pay a $15 administrative fee charged for specialty plates.

In its decision, the appeals court affirmed that Indiana offers two alternatives to standard license plates and that the fee structure for those plates is "uniformly applicable to all similarly situated license plates."

Indiana also offers specialty license plates for organizations, which requires the $15 administrative fee, under state statute.

The court ruled that the "In God We Trust" plate, along with another, "Lincoln's Boyhood Home," are simply alternatives to the standard plate and that the fact that motorists who choose them aren't subject to the additional fee is not arbitrary.

"The display of our material motto, 'In God We Trust,' on state license plates has found deep support among our fellow citizens," said Attorney General Steve Carter in a statement released Monday. “So often when there is a reference to a supreme being in the public arena, objections are made. With the court’s ruling, those objections have failed and the Legislature's will has been sustained."

The plates were first made available in January 2007.