The American 5-cent Coin Design Continuity Act of 2003 was enacted to ensure continuity for the design of the 5-cent coin. It allowed coinage of the commemorative Westward Journey Nickel Series. Further, the Act also established the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. The Act provided that after consulting with the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts, the Secretary of the Treasury may change the design on the obverse and the reverse of the 5-cent coin for coins issued in 2003, 2004, and 2005 in recognition of the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase and the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
The Act specifies that if the Secretary of the Treasury elects to change the obverse of 5-cent coins issued during 2003, 2004, and 2005, the design shall depict a likeness of President Thomas Jefferson, different from the likeness that appeared on the obverse of the 5-cent coins issued during 2002, in recognition of his role with respect to the Louisiana Purchase and the commissioning of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Likewise if the Secretary of the Treasury elects to change the reverse of the 5-cent coins issued during 2003,2004, and 2005, the design selected shall depict images that are emblematic of the Louisiana Purchase or the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.