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The Free Exercise Clause blocks the government from interfering with religious practices.

Opinions & Commentaries

13 U.S. 43 (1815) 9 Cranch 43 TERRETT AND OTHERS v. TAYLOR AND OTHERS.   Supreme Court of United States.   February 17, 1815.Absent. … JOHNSON, J. and TODD, J. *45 The cause was argued at last term by JONES, for the Plaintiffs in error, and by E.I. LEE and SWANN, for the Defendants in… Read more

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This case belongs to a class, happily rare in our courts, in which one of the parties to a controversy, essentially ecclesiastical, resorts to the judicial tribunals of the State for the maintenance of rights which the church has refused to acknowledge, or found itself unable to protect. Much as such dissensions among the members of a religious society should *714 be regretted, a regret which is increased when passing from the control of the judicial and legislative bodies of the entire organization to which the society belongs, an appeal is made to the secular authority; the courts when so called on must perform their functions as in other cases.

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George Reynolds, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormon Church, was convicted by a jury in the Utah Territory of bigamy for engaging in a plural marriage. Reynolds raised several assignments of error, some related to evidence law and criminal procedure, and including an assertion that his conviction for bigamy violated his right to freely exercise his religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Reynolds contended that his religion encouraged and in some circumstances mandated plural marriage, and offered testimony in support of this. Nonetheless, he was convicted. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction, stating that to hold otherwise would allow absurd results and permit religious beliefs to rise above the law. Allowing Reynolds's religious defense would, according to the Court, "permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could only exist in name under such circumstances." Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 167 (1878).

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On this appeal our only inquiry is whether the District Court of the Territory had jurisdiction of the offence charged in the indictment of which the defendant was found guilty. If it had jurisdiction, we can go no farther. We cannot look into any alleged errors in its rulings on the trial of the defendant. The writ of habeas corpus cannot be turned into a writ of error to review the action of that court. Nor can we inquire whether the evidence established the fact alleged, that the defendant was a member of an order or organization known as the Mormon Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or the fact that the order or organization taught and counselled its members and devotees to commit the crimes of bigamy and polygamy as duties arising from membership therein. On this hearing we can only consider whether, these allegations being taken as true, an offence was committed of which the territorial court had jurisdiction to try the defendant. And on this point there can be no serious discussion or difference of opinion. Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries. They are crimes by the laws of the United States, and they are crimes by the laws of Idaho. They tend to destroy the purity of the marriage relation, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman and to debase man. Few crimes are more pernicious to the best interests of society and receive more general or more deserved punishment. To extend exemption from punishment for such crimes would be to shock the moral judgment of the community. To call their *342 advocacy a tenet of religion is to offend the common sense of mankind. If they are crimes, then to teach, advise and counsel their practice is to aid in their commission, and such teaching and counselling are themselves criminal and proper subjects of punishment, as aiding and abetting crime are in all other cases.

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The principal questions raised are, first, as to the power of Congress to repeal the charter of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; and, secondly, as to the power of Congress and the courts to seize the property of said corporation and to hold the same for the purposes mentioned in the decree.

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Passing the various objections made to the maintenance of this suit on account of an alleged defect of parties, and also in regard to the character in which the complainant sues, merely that of a citizen and taxpayer of the United States and a resident of the District of Columbia, we come to the main question as to the validity of the agreement between the Commissioners of the District and the directors of the hospital, founded upon the appropriation contained in the act of Congress, the contention being that the agreement if carried out would result in an appropriation by Congress of money to a religious society, thereby violating the constitutional provision which forbids Congress from passing any law respecting an establishment of religion. Art. I of the Amendments to Constitution.

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Newton Cantwell and his two sons, Jesse and Russell — who identified as Jehovah's Witnesses and claimed to be ordained ministers — were arrested in New Haven, Connecticut after distributing religious literature for inciting a breach of the peace and violating a local ordinance requiring solicitors to obtain a permit.

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Overruled

Lillian Gobitis, aged twelve, and her brother William, aged ten, were expelled from the public schools of Minersville, Pennsylvania, for refusing to salute the national flag as part of a daily school exercise. The local Board of Education required both teachers and pupils to participate in this ceremony. The Gobitis family are affiliated with "Jehovah's Witnesses," for whom the Bible as the Word of God is the supreme authority. The children had been brought up conscientiously to believe that such a gesture of respect for the flag was forbidden by command of Scripture. The Gobitis children were of an age for which Pennsylvania makes school attendance compulsory. Thus, they were denied a free education, and their parents had to put them into private schools. To be relieved of the financial burden thereby entailed, their father, on behalf of the children and in his own behalf, brought this suit.

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Walter Chaplinsky, a Jehovah’s Witness, stood on a street corner in Rochester, NH distributing materials and denouncing all religions as a “racket.” After people complained to the city marshal about Chaplinsky’s actions, the officer informed the crowd that he was allowed to be on the corner. As the crowd grew more restless, the marshal warned Chaplinsky of a riot, to which he replied “You are a God damned racketeer” and “a damned Fascist and the whole government of Rochester are Fascists or agents of Fascists.” Chaplinsky was arrested and convicted under a state statute, making it unlawful to “address any offensive, derisive or annoying word to any other person who is lawfully in any street or other public place, nor call him by any offensive or derisive name, nor make any noise or exclamation in his presence and hearing with intent to deride, offend or annoy him, or to prevent him from pursuing his lawful business or occupation.”

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Overruled

By writ of certiorari in Nos. 280 and 314 and by appeal in No. 966 we have before us the question of the constitutionality *586 of various city ordinances imposing the license taxes upon the sale of printed matter for nonpayment of which the appellant, Jobin, and the petitioners, Jones, Bowden and Sanders, all members of the organization known as Jehovah's Witnesses, were convicted.

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This appeal brings here for review the conviction of appellant for violation of Ordinance No. 612 of the City of Paris, Texas, which makes it unlawful for any person to solicit orders or to sell books, wares or merchandise within the residence portion of Paris without first filing an application and obtaining a permit. The ordinance goes on to provide that *419 "if after investigation the Mayor deems it proper or advisable he may issue a written permit to said person for the purpose of soliciting, selling, canvassing or census taking within the residence portion of the city which permit shall state on its face that it has been issued after a thorough investigation."[1]

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The appellant, a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, was charged with distributing handbills on the streets of Dallas, Texas, in violation of an ordinance of that city which prohibits their distribution. She was convicted in the Corporation Court of Dallas, and appealed to the *414 County Criminal Court where, after a trial de novo, she was again convicted and a fine of $5.00 and costs was imposed. Under Texas law she could appeal to no higher state court,[1] and since she properly raised federal questions of substance in both courts, the case is rightfully here on appeal under § 237 (a) of the Judicial Code. King Manufacturing Co. v. Augusta, 277 U.S. 100. The appellee has asked us to reconsider the doctrine of the King Manufacturing Co. case under which this Court takes jurisdiction on appeal from judgments sustaining the validity of municipal ordinances. We see no reason for reconsidering the King Manufacturing Co. case and follow it here.

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The City of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, has an ordinance, some forty years old, which provides in part:"That all persons canvassing for or soliciting within said Borough, orders for goods, paintings, pictures, wares, or merchandise of any kind, or persons delivering such articles under orders so obtained or solicited, shall be required to procure from the Burgess a license to transact said business and shall pay to the Treasurer of said Borough therefore the following sums according to the time for which said license shall be granted.

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319 U.S. 103 63 S.Ct. 890 87 L.Ed. 1290 Roscoe JONES, Petitioner, v. CITY OF OPELIKA. Lois BOWDEN and Zada Sanders, Petitioners, v. CITY OF FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS. Charles JOBIN, Appellant, v. The STATE OF ARIZONA. Nos. 280, 314, 966. Reargued March 10, 11, 1943. Decided May 3, 1943. Robert MURDOCK, Jr., Petitioner, v. COMMONWEALTH… Read more

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For centuries it has been a common practice in this and other countries for persons not specifically invited to go from home to home and knock on doors or ring doorbells to communicate ideas to the occupants or to invite them to political, religious, or other kinds of public meetings. Whether such visiting shall be permitted has in general been deemed to depend upon the will of the individual master of each household, and not upon the determination of the community. In the instant case, the City of Struthers, Ohio, has attempted to make this decision for all its inhabitants. The question to be decided is whether the City, consistently with the federal Constitution's *142 guarantee of free speech and press, possesses this power.[1]The appellant, espousing a religious cause in which she was interested — that of the Jehovah's Witnesses — went to the homes of strangers, knocking on doors and ringing doorbells in order to distribute to the inmates of the homes leaflets advertising a religious meeting. In doing so, she proceeded in a conventional and orderly fashion. For delivering a leaflet to the inmate of a home, she was convicted in the Mayor's Court and was fined $10.00 on a charge of violating the following City ordinance:"It is unlawful for any person distributing handbills, circulars or other advertisements to ring the door bell, sound the door knocker, or otherwise summon the inmate or inmates of any residence to the door for the purpose of receiving such handbills, circulars or other advertisements they or any person with them may be distributing."The appellant admitted knocking at the door for the purpose of delivering the invitation, but seasonably urged in the lower Ohio state court that the ordinance as construed and applied was beyond the power of the State because in violation of the right of freedom of press and religion as guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.[2]*143 The right of freedom of speech and press has broad scope. The authors of the First Amendment knew that novel and unconventional ideas might disturb the complacent, but they chose to encourage a freedom which they believed essential if vigorous enlightenment was ever to triumph over slothful ignorance.[3] This freedom embraces the right to distribute literature, Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. 444, 452, and necessarily protects the right to receive it. The privilege may not be withdrawn even if it creates the minor nuisance for a community of cleaning litter from its streets. Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 162. Yet the peace, good order, and comfort of the community may imperatively require regulation of the time, place and manner of distribution. Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 304. No one supposes, for example, that a city need permit a man with a communicable disease to distribute leaflets on the street or to homes, or that the First Amendment prohibits a state from preventing the distribution of leaflets in a church against the will of the church authorities.

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March 20, 1942, the State of Mississippi enacted a statute[1] the title of which declares that it is intended to *584 secure the peace and safety of the United States and of the State of Mississippi during war and to prohibit acts detrimental to public peace and safety. The first section, with which alone we are here concerned, provides:"That any person who individually, or as a member of any organization, association, or otherwise, shall intentionally preach, teach, or disseminate any teachings, creed, theory, or set of alleged principles, orally, or by means of a phonograph or other contrivance of any kind or nature, or by any other means or method, or by the distribution of any sort of literature, or written or printed matter, designed and calculated to encourage violence, sabotage, or disloyalty to the government of the United States, or the state of Mississippi, or who by action or speech, advocates the cause of the enemies of the United States or who gives information as to the military operations, or plans of defense or military secrets of the nation or this state, by speech, letter, map or picture which would incite any sort of racial distrust, disorder, prejudices or hatreds, or which reasonably tends to create an attitude of stubborn refusal to salute, honor or respect the flag or government of the United States, or of the state of Mississippi, shall be guilty of a felony and punished by imprisonment in the state penitentiary until treaty of peace be declared by the United States but such imprisonment shall not exceed ten years."At the June 1942 term of the Madison County Circuit Court, Taylor, the appellant in No. 826, was indicted for orally disseminating teachings designed and calculated to encourage disloyalty to the government of the United States and that of the State of Mississippi; and for orally disseminating teachings and distributing literature and printed matter reasonably tending to create an attitude of stubborn refusal to salute, honor, and respect the flag and government of the United States and of the State of *585 Mississippi, and designed and calculated to encourage disloyalty to the government of the United States.

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The West Virginia State Board of Education adopted a resolution ordering that saluting the flag become “a regular part of the program of activities in the public schools,” and that all teachers and pupils “shall be required to participate in the salute honoring the Nation represented by the Flag.” It also provided that “refusal to salute the Flag be regarded as an act of insubordination, and shall be dealt with accordingly.” Failure to conform was “insubordination,” dealt with by expulsion, and readmission was denied by statute until compliance. Meanwhile, the expelled child was “unlawfully absent,” and could be proceeded against as a delinquent. Parents or guardians were liable to prosecution, and, if convicted, were subject to fine not exceeding $50 and jail term not exceeding thirty days. The appellees, who identified as Jehovah’s Witnesses, brought suit in the United States District Court for an injunction to restrain enforcement of these laws and regulations. Jehovah’s Witnesses consider that the flag is a “graven image” within the meaning of the Biblical Second Commandment, and for that reason, they refuse to salute it.

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The case brings for review another episode in the conflict between Jehovah's Witnesses and state authority. This time Sarah Prince appeals from convictions for violating Massachusetts' child labor laws, by acts said to be a rightful exercise of her religious convictions.

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Appellant was convicted of violating an ordinance of the town of McCormick, South Carolina which provided: ". . . the following license on business, occupation and professions to be paid by the person or persons carrying on or engaged in such business, occupation or professions within the corporate limits of the Town of McCormick, South Carolina: Agents selling books, per day $1.00, per year $15.00." Appellant is a Jehovah's Witness and has been certified by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society as "an ordained minister of Jehovah God to preach the gospel of God's kingdom under Christ Jesus." He is a resident of McCormick, South Carolina, where he went from house to house distributing certain books. He obtained his living from the money received; he had no other source of income. He claimed that he merely offered the books for a "contribution." But there was evidence that he "offered to and did sell the books." Admittedly he had no license from the town and refused to obtain one. He moved for a directed verdict of not guilty at the close of the evidence, claiming that the ordinance restricted freedom of worship in violation of the First Amendment which the Fourteenth Amendment makes applicable to the States. The motion was overruled and appellant was found guilty by the jury in the Mayor's Court. That judgment was affirmed by the Circuit Court of General Sessions for McCormick County and then by the Supreme Court of South Carolina. The case is here on appeal. Judicial Code, § 237 (a), 28 U.S.C. § 344 (a).

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Respondents were indicted and convicted for using, and conspiring to use, the mails to defraud. § 215 Criminal Code, 18 U.S.C. § 338; § 37 Criminal Code, 18 U.S.C. § 88. The indictment was in twelve counts. It charged a scheme to defraud by organizing and promoting the I Am movement through the use of the mails. The charge was that certain designated corporations were formed, literature distributed and sold, funds solicited, and memberships in the I Am movement sought "by means of false and fraudulent representations, pretenses and promises." The false representations charged were eighteen in number. It is sufficient at this point to say that they covered respondents' alleged religious doctrines or beliefs. They were all set forth in the first count. The following are representative:

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Petitioner sought a writ of certiorari from this Court under Section 237 (b) of the Judicial Code to review the action of the Supreme Court of Illinois in denying petitioner's prayer for admission to the practice of law in that state. It was alleged that the denial was "on the sole ground that he is a conscientious objector to war" or to phrase petitioner's contention slightly differently "because of his conscientious scruples against participation in war." Petitioner challenges here the right of the Supreme Court to exclude him from the bar under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which secured to him protection against state action in violation of the principles of the First Amendment.[1] Because of the importance of the tendered issue in the domain of civil rights, we granted certiorari.[2] 323 U.S. 705.

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The appellant was charged in the Justice Court of Medina County, Texas, with violating Article 479, Chap. 3 of the Texas Penal Code which makes it an offense for any "peddler or hawker of goods or merchandise" wilfully to refuse to leave premises after having been notified to do so by the owner or possessor thereof. The appellant urged in his defense that he was not a peddler or hawker of merchandise, but a minister of the gospel engaged in the distribution of religious literature to willing recipients. He contended that to construe the Texas statute as applicable to his activities would, to that extent, bring it into conflict with the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of press and religion. His contention was rejected and he was convicted. On appeal to the Medina County Court, his Constitutional contention was again overruled. Since he could not appeal to a higher state court this appeal under § 237 (a) of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C. 344 (a) is properly before us. Largent v. Texas, 318 U.S. 418.

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In this case we are asked to decide whether a State, consistently with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, can impose criminal punishment on a person who undertakes to distribute religious literature on the premises of a company-owned town contrary to the wishes of the town's management. The town, a suburb of Mobile, Alabama, known as Chickasaw, is owned by the Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation. Except for that it has all the characteristics of any other American town. The property consists of residential buildings, streets, a system of sewers, a sewage disposal plant and a "business block" on which business places are situated. A deputy of the Mobile County Sheriff, paid by the company, serves as the town's policeman. Merchants and service establishments have rented the stores and business places on the business block and *503 the United States uses one of the places as a post office from which six carriers deliver mail to the people of Chickasaw and the adjacent area. The town and the surrounding neighborhood, which can not be distinguished from the Gulf property by anyone not familiar with the property lines, are thickly settled, and according to all indications the residents use the business block as their regular shopping center. To do so, they now, as they have for many years, make use of a company-owned paved street and sidewalk located alongside the store fronts in order to enter and leave the stores and the post office. Intersecting company-owned roads at each end of the business block lead into a four-lane public highway which runs parallel to the business block at a distance of thirty feet. There is nothing to stop highway traffic from coming onto the business block and upon arrival a traveler may make free use of the facilities available there. In short the town and its shopping district are accessible to and freely used by the public in general and there is nothing to distinguish them from any other town and shopping center except the fact that the title to the property belongs to a private corporation.

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A New Jersey statute authorizes its local school districts to make rules and contracts for the transportation of children to and from schools.[1] The appellee, a township board of education, acting pursuant to this statute, authorized reimbursement to parents of money expended by them for the bus transportation of their children on regular busses operated by the public transportation system. Part of this money was for the payment of transportation of some children in the community to Catholic parochial schools. These church schools give their students, in addition to secular education, regular religious instruction conforming to the religious tenets and modes of worship of the Catholic Faith. The superintendent of these schools is a Catholic priest.

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With the permission of a board of education, granted under its general supervisory powers over the use of public school buildings, religious teachers, employed subject to the approval and supervision of the superintendent of schools by a private religious group including representatives of the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faiths, gave religious instruction in public school buildings once each week. Pupils whose parents so requested were excused from their secular classes during the periods of religious instruction and were required to attend the religious classes; but other pupils were not released from their public school duties, which were compulsory under state law. A resident and taxpayer of the school district whose child was enrolled in the public schools sued in a state court for a writ of mandamus requiring the board of education to terminate this practice.

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334 U.S. 558 (1948) SAIA v. NEW YORK. No. 504. Supreme Court of United States. Argued March 30, 1948. Decided June 7, 1948. APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS OF NEW YORK. Hayden C. Covington argued the cause and filed a brief for appellant. Alan V. Parker submitted on brief for appellee. Opinion of the… Read more

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Appellants are two members of the religious group known as Jehovah's Witnesses. At the invitation of local coreligionists, they scheduled Bible talks in the public park of the city of Havre de Grace, Maryland. Although there is no ordinance prohibiting or regulating the use of this park, it has been the custom for organizations and individuals desiring to use it for meetings and celebrations of various kinds to obtain permits from the Park Commissioner. In conformity with this practice, the group requested permission of the Park Commissioner for use of the park on four consecutive Sundays in June and July, 1949. This permission was refused.

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New York City has adopted an ordinance which makes it unlawful to hold public worship meetings on the streets *291 without first obtaining a permit from the city police commissioner.[1] Appellant, Carl Jacob Kunz, was convicted and fined $10 for violating this ordinance by holding a religious meeting without a permit. The conviction was *292 affirmed by the Appellate Part of the Court of Special Sessions, and by the New York Court of Appeals, three judges dissenting, 300 N. Y. 273, 90 N. E. 2d 455 (1950). The case is here on appeal, it having been urged that the ordinance is invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment.

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New York City has a program which permits its public schools to release students during the school day so that they may leave the school buildings and school grounds and go to religious centers for religious instruction or devotional exercises. A student is released on written request of his parents. Those not released stay in the classrooms. The churches make weekly reports to the schools, sending a list of children who have been released from public school but who have not reported for religious instruction.[1]This "released time" program involves neither religious instruction in public school classrooms nor the expenditure *309 of public funds. All costs, including the application blanks, are paid by the religious organizations. The case is therefore unlike McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U. S. 203, which involved a "released time" program from Illinois. In that case the classrooms were turned over to religious instructors. We accordingly held that the program violated the First Amendment[2] which (by reason of the Fourteenth Amendment)[3] prohibits the states from establishing religion or prohibiting its free exercise.

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The right to the use and occupancy of a church in the city of New York is in dispute.

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The City of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, has an ordinance which reads as follows:

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This appeal presents the validity of a conviction of appellant for conducting religious services in a public park of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, without a required license, when proper application for the license had been arbitrarily and unreasonably refused by the City Council. The conclusion depends upon consideration of the principles *397 of the First Amendment secured against state abridgment by the Fourteenth.[1]

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363 U.S. 190 (1960) KRESHIK ET AL. v. SAINT NICHOLAS CATHEDRAL OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF NORTH AMERICA. No. 824. Supreme Court of United States. Decided June 6, 1960. ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF NEW YORK. Philip Adler and Eugene Gressman for petitioners. Ralph Montgomery Arkush and… Read more

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The issues in this case concern the constitutional validity of Maryland criminal statutes,[1] commonly known as Sunday Closing Laws or Sunday Blue Laws. These statutes, with exceptions to be noted hereafter, generally proscribe all labor, business and other commercial activities on Sunday. The questions presented are whether the classifications within the statutes bring about a denial of equal protection of the law, whether the laws are so vague as to fail to give reasonable notice of the forbidden conduct and therefore violate due process, and whether the statutes are laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

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The primary questions presented in this case are whether a Pennsylvania statute enacted in 1959[1] which *584 makes unlawful the Sunday retail sale of certain commodities, imposing a fine of up to one hundred dollars for the first offense, is violative of the constitutional guarantees of equal protection of the laws and religious freedom.

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366 U.S. 617 (1961) GALLAGHER, CHIEF OF POLICE OF SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS, ET AL. v. CROWN KOSHER SUPER MARKET OF MASSACHUSETTS, INC., ET AL. No. 11. Supreme Court of United States. Argued December 7-8, 1960. Decided May 29, 1961. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS. Joseph H. Elcock, Jr., Assistant… Read more

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366 U.S. 599 (1961) BRAUNFELD ET AL. v. BROWN, COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF PHILADELPHIA, ET AL. No. 67. Supreme Court of United States. Argued December 8, 1960. Decided May 29, 1961. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA. Theodore R. Mann argued the cause for appellants. With him on… Read more

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Article 37 of the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution provided: "[N]o religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God . . . ." The appellant, Roy Torcaso, was appointed to the office of Notary Public by the Governor of Maryland but was refused a commission to serve because he would not declare his belief in God. He then brought an action in a Maryland Circuit Court to compel issuance of his commission, charging that the State's requirement that he declare this belief violated "the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States . . . ." The Circuit Court rejected these federal constitutional contentions, and the highest court of the State, the Court of Appeals, affirmed, holding that the state constitutional provision is self-executing and requires declaration of belief in God as a qualification for office without need for implementing legislation.

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The respondent Board of Education of Union Free School District No. 9, New Hyde Park, New York, acting in its official capacity under state law, directed the School District's principal to cause the following prayer to be said aloud by each class in the presence of a teacher at the beginning of each school day:

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371 U.S. 218 (1962) ARLAN’S DEPARTMENT STORE OF LOUISVILLE, INC., ET AL. v. KENTUCKY. No. 503. Supreme Court of United States. Decided December 17, 1962. APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS OF KENTUCKY. James E. Thornberry and Edward M. Post for appellants. John B. Breckinridge, Attorney General of Kentucky, Holland N. McTyeire, Assistant Attorney General,… Read more

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Once again we are called upon to consider the scope of the provision of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which declares that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ." These companion cases present the issues in the context of state action requiring that schools begin each day with readings from the Bible. While raising the basic questions under slightly different factual situations, the cases permit of joint treatment. In light of the history of the First Amendment and of our cases interpreting and applying its requirements, we hold that the practices at issue and the laws requiring them are unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.

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Adell H. Sherbert was fired from her job because her religious beliefs as a Seventh Day Adventist prohibited her from working on Saturdays. This restriction also made it difficult for her to find other work after losing her job. When Sherbert applied for unemployment benefits from the state of South Carolina, the state denied her relief. South Carolina could deny benefits to those who could not find a job without good cause. Here, South Carolina did not find Sherbert’s religious convictions to be a “good cause” to restrict her employment.

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377 U.S. 402 (1964) CHAMBERLIN ET AL. v. DADE COUNTY BOARD OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION ET AL. No. 939. Supreme Court of United States. Decided June 1, 1964. APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA. Leo Pfeffer and Howard W. Dixon for appellants. George C. Bolles for appellees. PER CURIAM. The motion to use the record… Read more

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378 U.S. 546 (1964) COOPER v. PATE, WARDEN. No. 1134, Misc. Supreme Court of United States. Decided June 22, 1964. ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT. Alex Elson and Bernard Weisberg for petitioner. William G. Clark, Attorney General of Illinois, and Raymond S. Sarnow… Read more

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382 U.S. 204 (1965) SOLOMON v. SOUTH CAROLINA. No. 588. Supreme Court of United States. Decided December 6, 1965. APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Ellis Lyons for appellant. Daniel R. McLeod, Attorney General of South Carolina, and E. N. Brandon, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee. PER CURIAM. The motion to dismiss is… Read more

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A law of the State of New York requires local public school authorities to lend textbooks free of charge to all students in grades seven through 12; students attending private schools are included. This case presents the question whether this statute is a "law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," and so in conflict with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, because it authorizes the loan of textbooks to students attending parochial schools. We hold that the law is not in violation of the Constitution.

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I.

This appeal challenges the constitutionality of the "anti-evolution" statute which the State of Arkansas adopted in 1928 to prohibit the teaching in its public schools and universities of the theory that man evolved from other species of life. The statute was a product of the upsurge of "fundamentalist" religious fervor of the twenties. The Arkansas statute was an adaptation of the famous Tennessee "monkey law" which that State adopted in 1925.[1] The constitutionality of the Tennessee law was upheld by the Tennessee Supreme Court in the celebrated Scopes case in 1927.[2]The Arkansas law makes it unlawful for a teacher in any state-supported school or university "to teach the *99 theory or doctrine that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals," or "to adopt or use in any such institution a textbook that teaches" this theory. Violation is a misdemeanor and subjects the violator to dismissal from his position.[3]The present case concerns the teaching of biology in a high school in Little Rock. According to the testimony, until the events here in litigation, the official textbook furnished for the high school biology course did not have a section on the Darwinian Theory. Then, for the academic year 1965-1966, the school administration, on recommendation of the teachers of biology in the school system, adopted and prescribed a textbook which contained a chapter setting forth "the theory about the origin . . . of man from a lower form of animal."*100 Susan Epperson, a young woman who graduated from Arkansas' school system and then obtained her master's degree in zoology at the University of Illinois, was employed by the Little Rock school system in the fall of 1964 to teach 10th grade biology at Central High School. At the start of the next academic year, 1965, she was confronted by the new textbook (which one surmises from the record was not unwelcome to her). She faced at least a literal dilemma because she was supposed to use the new textbook for classroom instruction and presumably to teach the statutorily condemned chapter; but to do so would be a criminal offense and subject her to dismissal.

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This is a church property dispute which arose when two local churches withdrew from a hierarchical general church organization. Under Georgia law the right to the property previously used by the local churches was made to turn on a civil court jury decision as to whether the general church abandoned or departed from the tenets of faith and practice it held at the time the local churches affiliated with it. The question presented is whether the restraints of the First Amendment, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, permit a civil court to award church property on the basis of the interpretation and significance the civil court assigns to aspects of church doctrine.

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Appellant, owner of real estate in Richmond County, New York, sought an injunction in the New York courts to prevent the New York City Tax Commission from granting property tax exemptions to religious organizations for religious properties used solely for religious worship. The exemption from state taxes is authorized by Art. 16, § 1, of the New York Constitution, which provides in relevant part:

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398 U.S. 333 (1970) WELSH v. UNITED STATES.       No. 76. Supreme Court of United States.    Argued January 20, 1970 Decided June 15, 1970 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.*334 J. B. Tietz argued the cause and filed briefs for petitioner.Solicitor General Griswold argued the cause… Read more

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These cases present the question whether conscientious objection to a particular war, rather than objection to war as such, relieves the objector from responsibilities of military training and service. Specifically, we are called upon to decide whether conscientious scruples relating to a particular conflict are within the purview of established provisions[1] relieving conscientious objectors to war from military service. Both petitioners also invoke constitutional principles barring government interference with the exercise of religion and requiring governmental neutrality in matters of religion.

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402 U.S. 689 (1971) DEWEY v. REYNOLDS METALS CO. No. 835. Supreme Court of United States. Argued April 20-21, 1971. Decided June 1, 1971 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT. Donald F. Oosterhouse argued the cause and filed a brief for petitioner. William A. Coughlin, Jr., argued the cause… Read more

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403 U.S. 698 (1971) CLAY, AKA ALI v. UNITED STATES. No. 783. Supreme Court of United States. Argued April 19, 1971 Decided June 28, 1971 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT. Chauncey Eskridge argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Jack Greenberg, James M. Nabrit… Read more

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Rhode Island's 1969 Salary Supplement Act provides for a 15% salary supplement to be paid to teachers in nonpublic schools at which the average per-pupil expenditure on secular education is below the average in public schools. Eligible teachers must teach only courses offered in the public schools, using only materials used in the public schools, and must agree not to teach courses in religion. A three-judge court found that about 25% of the State's elementary students attended nonpublic schools, about 95% of whom attended Roman Catholic affiliated schools, and that to date about 250 teachers at Roman Catholic schools are the sole beneficiaries under the Act. The court found that the parochial school system was "an integral part of the religious mission of the Catholic Church," and held that the Act fostered "excessive entanglement" between government and religion, thus violating the Establishment Clause. Pennsylvania's Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act, passed in 1968, authorizes the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to "purchase" certain "secular educational services" from nonpublic schools, directly reimbursing those schools solely for teachers' salaries, textbooks, and instructional materials. Reimbursement is restricted to courses in specific secular subjects, the textbooks and materials must be approved by the Superintendent, and no payment is to be made for any course containing "any subject matter expressing religious teaching, or the morals or forms of worship of any sect." Contracts were made with schools that have more than 20% of all the students in the State, most of which were affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The complaint challenging the constitutionality of the Act alleged that the church-affiliated schools are controlled by religious organizations, have the purpose of propagating and promoting a particular religious faith, and conduct their operations to fulfill that purpose.

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403 U.S. 672 (1971) TILTON ET AL. v. RICHARDSON, SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE, ET AL.   No. 153. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued March 2-3, 1971. Decided June 28, 1971. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT.*674 Leo Pfeffer argued the cause for appellants. With him… Read more

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405 U.S. 319 (1972) CRUZ v. BETO, CORRECTIONS DIRECTOR. No. 71-5552. Supreme Court of United States. Decided March 20, 1972. ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT. PER CURIAM. The complaint, alleging a cause of action under 42 U. S. C. § 1983, states that… Read more

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Respondents, members of the Old Order Amish religion and the Conservative Amish Mennonite Church, were convicted of violating Wisconsin's compulsory school attendance law (which requires a child's school attendance until age 16) by declining to send their children to public or private school after they had graduated from the eighth grade. The evidence showed that the Amish provide continuing informal vocational education to their children designed to prepare them for life in the rural Amish community. The evidence also showed that respondents sincerely believed that high school attendance was contrary to the Amish religion and way of life, and that they would endanger their own salvation and that of their children by complying with the law. The State Supreme Court sustained respondents' claim that application of the compulsory school attendance law to them violated their rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment.

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Following this Court's invalidation in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U. S. 602 (Lemon I) of Pennsylvania's statutory program to reimburse nonpublic sectarian schools (hereafter school) for secular educational services, the District Court, on remand, enjoined any payments under the program for services rendered after Lemon I, but permitted Pennsylvania to reimburse the schools for service performed prior to that decision. Appellants challenge the scope of this decree. Held: The judgment is affirmed. Pp. 411 U. S. 197-209. 348 F.Supp. 300, affirmed.

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We are asked to decide whether Chapter 138 of New York State's Laws of 1970, under which the State reimburses private schools throughout the State for certain costs of testing and recordkeeping, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. A three-judge District Court, with one judge dissenting, held the Act unconstitutional. 342 F. Supp. 439 (SDNY 1972). We noted probable jurisdiction. 409 U. S. 977.

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Appellant, a South Carolina taxpayer, brought this action to challenge the South Carolina Educational Facilities Authority Act (the Act), S. C. Code Ann. § 22-41 *736 et seq. (Supp. 1971), as violative of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment insofar as it authorizes a proposed financing transaction involving the issuance of revenue bonds for the benefit of the Baptist College at Charleston (the College).[1] The trial court's denial of relief was affirmed by the Supreme Court of South Carolina. 255 S. C. 71, 177 S. E. 2d 362 (1970). This Court vacated the judgment and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of the intervening decisions in Lemon v. Kurtzman, Earley v. DiCenso, and Robinson v. DiCenso, 403 U. S. 602 (1971); and Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U. S. 672 (1971). 403 U. S. 945 (1971). On remand, the Supreme Court of South Carolina adhered to its earlier position. 258 S. C. 97, 187 S. E. 2d 645 (1972). We affirm.

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On June 28, 1971, this Court handed down Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U. S. 602, in which Pennsylvania's "Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act" was held unconstitutional as violative of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. That law authorized the State to reimburse nonpublic, sectarian schools for their expenditures on teachers' salaries, textbooks, and instructional materials used in specified "secular" courses. *827 The Court's ruling was premised on its determination that the restrictions and state supervision required to guarantee that the specified aid would benefit only the nonreligious activities of the schools would foster "excessive entanglement" between government and religion. Id., at 620-622.

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These cases raise a challenge under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the constitutionality of a recently enacted New York law which provides financial assistance, in several ways, to nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in that State. The cases involve an intertwining of societal and constitutional issues of the greatest importance.

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A draftee accorded Class I-O conscientious objector status and completing performance of required alternative *363 civilian service[1] does not qualify under 38 U. S. C. § 1652 (a) (1) as a "veteran who . . . served on active duty" (defined in 38 U. S. C. § 101 (21) as "full-time duty in the Armed Forces"), and is therefore not an "eligible veteran" entitled under 38 U. S. C. § 1661 (a) to veterans' educational benefits provided by the Veterans' Readjustment Benefits Act of 1966.[2] Appellants, the Veterans' *364 Administration and the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs, for that reason, denied the application for educational assistance of appellee Robison, a conscientious objector who filed his application after he satisfactorily completed two years of alternative civilian service at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston. Robison thereafter commenced this class action[3] in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, seeking a declaratory judgment that 38 U. S. C. §§ 101 (21), 1652 (a) (1), and 1661 (a), read together, violated the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom and the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws.[4] Appellants moved to dismiss the action on the *365 ground, among others, that the District Court lacked jurisdiction because of 38 U. S. C. § 211 (a) which prohibits judicial review of decisions of the Administrator.[5] The District Court denied the motion, and, on the merits, rejected appellee's First Amendment claim, but sustained the equal protection claim and entered a judgment declaring "that 38 U. S. C. §§ 1652 (a) (1) and 1661 (a) defining `eligible veteran' and providing for entitlement to educational assistance are unconstitutional and that 38 U. S. C. § 101 (21) defining `active duty' is unconstitutional with respect to chapter 34 of Title 38, United States Code, 38 U. S. C. §§ 1651-1697, conferring Veterans' Educational Assistance, for the reason that said sections deny plaintiff and members of his class due process of law in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States . . . ." 352 F. Supp. 848, 862 (1973).[6] We postponed *366 consideration of the question of jurisdiction in light of § 211 (a) to the hearing on the merits, and set the case for oral argument with No. 72-700, Hernandez v. Veterans' Administration, post, p. 391. 411 U. S. 981 (1973).[7] We hold, in agreement with the District Court, that § 211 (a) is inapplicable to this action and therefore that appellants' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction of the subject matter was properly denied. On the merits, we agree that appellee's First Amendment claim is without merit but disagree that §§ 1652 (a) (1), 1661 (a), and 101 (21) violate the Fifth Amendment and therefore reverse the judgment of the District Court.

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Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U. S. C. § 241a et seq., provides for federal funding of special programs for educationally deprived children in both public and private schools.

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Overruled

421 U.S. 349 (1975) MEEK ET AL. v. PITTENGER, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, ET AL.   No. 73-1765. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued February 19, 1975. Decided May 19, 1975. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA.*351 Leo Pfeffer and William P. Thorn argued the cause and filed… Read more

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426 U.S. 736 (1976) ROEMER ET AL. v. BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS OF MARYLAND ET AL.     No. 74-730. Supreme Court of United States.    Argued February 23, 1976. Decided June 21, 1976. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND.*739 Lawrence S. Greenwald argued the cause for appellants. With… Read more

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In 1963, the Holy Assembly of Bishops and the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church (Mother Church) *698 suspended and ultimately removed respondent Dionisije Milivojevich (Dionisije) as Bishop of the American-Canadian Diocese of that Church, and appointed petitioner Bishop Firmilian Ocokoljich (Firmilian) as Administrator of the Diocese, which the Mother Church then reorganized into three Dioceses. In 1964 the Holy Assembly and Holy Synod defrocked Dionisije as a Bishop and cleric of the Mother Church. In this civil action brought by Dionisije and the other respondents in Illinois Circuit Court, the Supreme Court of Illinois held that the proceedings of the Mother Church respecting Dionisije were procedurally and substantively defective under the internal regulations of the Mother Church and were therefore arbitrary and invalid. The State Supreme Court also invalidated the Diocesan reorganization into three Dioceses. 60 Ill. 2d 477, 328 N. E. 2d 268 (1975).[1] We granted certiorari to determine whether the actions of the Illinois Supreme Court constituted improper judicial interference with decisions of the highest authorities of a hierarchical church in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. 423 U. S. 911 (1975). We hold that the inquiries made by the Illinois Supreme Court into matters of ecclesiastical cognizance and polity and the court's actions pursuant thereto contravened the First and Fourteenth Amendments. We therefore reverse.

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429 U.S. 65 (1976) PARKER SEAL CO. v. CUMMINS. No. 75-478. Supreme Court of United States. Argued October 12, 1976. Decided November 2, 1976. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT. Leonard H. Becker argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs was Paul S. Ryerson. Thomas L…. Read more

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New Hampshire statutes require that noncommercial motor vehicles bear license plates embossed with the state motto, "Live Free or Die," and make it a misdemeanor to obscure the motto. Appellees, Maynard and his wife, who are followers of the Jehovah's Witnesses faith, view the motto as repugnant to their moral, religious, and political beliefs, and accordingly they covered up the motto on the license plates of their jointly owned family automobiles. Appellee Maynard was subsequently found guilty in state court of violating the misdemeanor statute on three separate charges and upon refusing to pay the fines imposed was sentenced to, and served, 15 days in jail.

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Overruled

433 U.S. 229 (1977) WOLMAN ET AL. v. WALTER ET AL.     No. 76-496. Supreme Court of the United States.    Argued April 25, 1977. Decided June 24, 1977. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO.*232 Joshua J. Kancelbaum argued the cause for appellants. With him on the… Read more

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In April of 1972 a three-judge United States District Court for the Southern District of New York declared unconstitutional New York's Mandated Services Act, 1970 N. Y. Laws, *127 ch. 138, which authorized fixed payments to nonpublic schools as reimbursement for the cost of certain recordkeeping and testing services required by state law. Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Levitt, 342 F. Supp. 439. The court's order permanently enjoined any payments under the Act, including reimbursement for expenses that schools had already incurred in the last half of the 1971-1972 school year.[1] This Court subsequently affirmed that judgment. Levitt v. Committee for Public Education, 413 U. S. 472.

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435 U.S. 618 (1978) McDANIEL v. PATY ET AL.   No. 76-1427. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued December 5, 1977. Decided April 19, 1978. APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE.*620 Frederic S. Le Clercq argued the cause and filed a brief for appellant. Kenneth R. Herrell, Assistant Attorney General of Tennessee, argued… Read more

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This case involves a dispute over the ownership of church property following a schism in a local church affiliated with a hierarchical church organization. The question for decision is whether civil courts, consistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, may resolve the dispute on the basis of "neutral principles of law," or whether they must defer to the resolution of an authoritative tribunal of the hierarchical church.

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The issue in this case is the constitutionality under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution of a New York statute authorizing the use of public funds to reimburse church-sponsored and secular nonpublic schools for performing various testing and reporting services mandated by state law. The District Court sustained the statute. Committee for Public Education v. Levitt, 461 F. Supp. 1123 (1978). We noted probable jurisdiction, 442 U. S. 928 (1979), and now affirm the District Court's judgment.

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449 U.S. 39 (1980) STONE ET AL. v. GRAHAM, SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION OF KENTUCKY. No. 80-321. Supreme Court of United States. Decided November 17, 1980. ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF KENTUCKY. PER CURIAM. A Kentucky statute requires the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments, purchased with… Read more

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We granted certiorari to consider whether the State's denial of unemployment compensation benefits to the petitioner, a Jehovah's Witness who terminated his job because his religious beliefs forbade participation in the production of armaments, constituted a violation of his First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. 444 U. S. 1070 (1980).

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A rule (Rule 6.05) of the Minnesota Agricultural Society (Society), a Minnesota public corporation that operates the annual state fair, provides that sale or distribution of any merchandise, including printed or written material, except from a duly licensed location on the fairgrounds shall be a misdemeanor. As Rule 6.05 is construed and applied by the Society, all persons, groups, or firms desiring to sell, exhibit, or distribute materials during the fair must do so only from fixed locations. However, the Rule does not prevent organizational representatives from walking about the fairgrounds and communicating the organization's views to fair patrons in face-to-face discussions. Space in the fairgrounds is rented in a nondiscriminatory fashion on a first-come, first-served basis, and Rule 6.05 applies alike to nonprofit, charitable, and commercial enterprises. Respondents, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. (ISKCON), an organization espousing the views of the Krishna religion, and the head of one of its temples filed suit in a Minnesota state court against state officials, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on the ground that Rule 6.05, on its face and as applied, violated their First Amendment rights. ISKCON asserted that the Rule suppressed the practice of Sankirtan, a religious ritual that enjoins its members to go into public places to distribute or sell religious literature and to solicit donations for the support of the Krishna religion. The trial court upheld the constitutionality of Rule 6.05, but the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed.

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The University of Missouri-Kansas City was founded in 1929, the university has an enrollment of approximately 14,000 students. The school allows over 100 recognized non-religious student groups to meet on its campus. All students pay a $41 activity fee (1978-1979) per semester to support this privilege. UMKC is a part of the University of Missouri system, which is governed by the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri. Defendant Gary E. Widmar is a member of the Board of Curators. Cornerstone is a fundamentalist evangelical Christian student-led organization. The group is registered with the university and met on campus from 1973 to 1977. Plaintiffs were all active members of the organization at the time this action was first filed. The parties disagree about whether allowing Cornerstone to have access to university facilities would be a government endorsement of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause.

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We noted probable jurisdiction to determine whether imposition of social security taxes is unconstitutional as applied to persons who object on religious grounds to receipt of public insurance benefits and to payment of taxes to support public insurance funds. 450 U. S. 993 (1981). The District Court concluded that the Free Exercise Clause prohibits forced payment of social security taxes when payment of taxes and receipt of benefits violate the taxpayer's religion. We reverse.

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The principal question presented by this appeal is whether a Minnesota statute, imposing certain registration and reporting requirements upon only those religious organizations that solicit more than fifty per cent of their funds from nonmembers, discriminates against such organizations in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.[1]

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The question presented by this appeal is whether a Massachusetts statute, which vests in the governing bodies of churches and schools the power effectively to veto applications for liquor licenses within a 500-foot radius of the church or school, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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Minnesota allows taxpayers, in computing their state income tax, to deduct certain expenses incurred in providing for the education of their children. Minn. Stat. § 290.09, subd. 22 (1982).[1] The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment, was not offended by this arrangement. Because this question was reserved in Committee for Public Education v. Nyquist, 413 U. S. 756 (1973), and because *391 of a conflict between the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and that of the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Rhode Island Federation of Teachers v. Norberg, 630 F. 2d 855 (CA1 1980), we granted certiorari. 459 U. S. 820 (1982). We now affirm.

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The question presented is whether the Nebraska Legislature's practice of opening each legislative day with a prayer by a chaplain paid by the State violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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We granted certiorari to decide whether the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits a municipality *671 from including a creche, or Nativity scene, in its annual Christmas display.

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471 U.S. 83 (1985) BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE ET AL. v. McCREARY ET AL. No. 84-277. Supreme Court of United States. Argued February 20, 1985 Decided March 27, 1985 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT Marvin E. Frankel argued the cause for petitioners. With him… Read more

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At an early stage of this litigation, the constitutionality of three Alabama statutes was questioned: (1) § 16-1-20, enacted in 1978, which authorized a 1-minute period of silence in all public schools "for meditation";[1] (2) § 16-1-20.1, enacted in 1981, which authorized a period of silence "for meditation or voluntary prayer";[2] and (3) § 16-1-20.2, enacted in 1982, which authorized teachers to lead "willing students" in a prescribed prayer to "Almighty God . . . the Creator and Supreme Judge of the world."[3]*41 At the preliminary-injunction stage of this case, the District Court distinguished § 16-1-20 from the other two statutes. It then held that there was "nothing wrong" with § 16-1-20,[4] but that §§ 16-1-20.1 and 16-1-20.2 were both invalid because the sole purpose of both was "an effort on the part of the State of Alabama to encourage a religious activity."[5] After the trial on the merits, the District Court did not change its interpretation of these two statutes, but held that they were constitutional because, in its opinion, Alabama has the power to establish a state religion if it chooses to do so.[6]The Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court's initial interpretation of the purpose of both § 16-1-20.1 and § 16-1-20.2, and held them both unconstitutional.[7] We have already affirmed the Court of Appeals' holding with respect to § 16-1-20.2.[8] Moreover, appellees have not questioned the holding that § 16-1-20 is valid.[9] Thus, the narrow question for decision is whether § 16-1-20.1, which authorizes a period of silence for "meditation or voluntary prayer," is a *42 law respecting the establishment of religion within the meaning of the First Amendment.[10]

I

Appellee Ishmael Jaffree is a resident of Mobile County, Alabama. On May 28, 1982, he filed a complaint on behalf of three of his minor children; two of them were second-grade students and the third was then in kindergarten. The complaint named members of the Mobile County School Board, various school officials, and the minor plaintiffs' three teachers as defendants.[11] The complaint alleged that the appellees brought the action "seeking principally a declaratory judgment and an injunction restraining the Defendants and each of them from maintaining or allowing the maintenance of regular religious prayer services or other forms of religious observances in the Mobile County Public Schools in violation of the First Amendment as made applicable to states by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."[12] The complaint further alleged that two of the children had been subjected to various acts of religious indoctrination "from the beginning of the school year in September, 1981";[13] that the defendant teachers had "on a daily basis" led their classes in saying certain prayers in unison;[14] that the minor children were exposed to ostracism from their peer group class members if they did not participate;[15] and that Ishmael Jaffree had repeatedly but unsuccessfully requested that the devotional services be stopped. The original complaint made no reference to any Alabama statute.

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472 U.S. 478 (1985) JENSEN, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES OF NEBRASKA, ET AL. v. QUARING No. 83-1944. Supreme Court of United States. Argued January 7, 1985 Decided June 17, 1985 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHT CIRCUIT Ruth Anne E. Galter, Assistant Attorney General of Nebraska, argued the cause… Read more

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We granted certiorari to decide whether a state statute that provides employees with the absolute right not to work *705 on their chosen Sabbath violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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Overruled (in part)

The School District of Grand Rapids, Michigan, adopted two programs in which classes for nonpublic school students are financed by the public school system, taught by teachers hired by the public school system, and conducted in "leased" classrooms in the nonpublic schools. Most of the nonpublic schools involved in the programs are sectarian religious schools. This case raises the question whether these programs impermissibly involve the government in the support of sectarian religious activities and thus violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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Overruled

New York City used federal funds received under the Title I program of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to pay the salaries of public school employees who taught in parochial schools in the city. That program authorized federal financial assistance to local educational institutions to meet the needs of educationally deprived children from low-income families. The city made the teacher assignments, and the teachers were supervised by field personnel who monitor the Title I classes. Appellee city taxpayers brought an action in Federal District Court, alleging that the Title I program administered by the city violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and seeking injunctive relief.

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The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment precludes the State of Washington from extending assistance under a state vocational rehabilitation assistance program to a blind person studying at a Christian college and seeking to become a pastor, missionary, or youth director. Finding no such federal constitutional barrier on the record presented to us, we reverse and remand.

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This case raises an important question of federal appellate jurisdiction that was not considered by the Court of Appeals: Whether one member of a School Board has standing to appeal from a declaratory judgment against the Board. We conclude that although the School Board itself had a sufficient stake in the outcome of the litigation to appeal, an individual Board member cannot invoke the Board's interest in the case to confer standing upon himself.

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Petitioner S. Simcha Goldman contends that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution permits him to wear a yarmulke while in uniform, notwithstanding an Air Force regulation mandating uniform dress for Air Force personnel. The District Court for the District of Columbia permanently enjoined the Air Force from enforcing its regulation against petitioner and from penalizing him for wearing his yarmulke. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed on the ground that the Air Force's strong interest in discipline justified the strict enforcement of its uniform dress requirements. We granted certiorari because of the importance of the question, 472 U. S. 1016 (1985), and now affirm.

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476 U.S. 693 (1986) BOWEN, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL. v. ROY ET AL. No. 84-780. Supreme Court of United States. Argued January 14, 1986 Decided June 11, 1986 APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA *694 Deputy Solicitor General Geller argued the cause for appellants…. Read more

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Appellant's employer discharged her when she refused to work certain scheduled hours because of sincerely held religious convictions adopted after beginning employment. The question to be decided is whether Florida's denial of unemployment compensation benefits to appellant violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.[1]

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This case requires us to consider once again the standard of review for prison regulations claimed to inhibit the exercise of constitutional rights. Respondents, members of the Islamic *345 faith, were prisoners in New Jersey's Leesburg State Prison.[1] They challenged policies adopted by prison officials which resulted in their inability to attend Jumu'ah, a weekly Muslim congregational service regularly held in the main prison building and in a separate facility known as "the Farm." Jumu'ah is commanded by the Koran and must be held every Friday after the sun reaches its zenith and before the Asr, or afternoon prayer. See Koran 62: 9-10; Brief for Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin et al. as Amici Curiae 18-31. There is no question that respondents' sincerely held religious beliefs compelled attendance at Jumu'ah. We hold that the prison regulations here challenged did not violate respondents' rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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[†]The question for decision is whether Louisiana's "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction" Act (Creationism Act), La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 17:286.1-17:286.7 (West 1982), is facially invalid *581 as violative of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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Section 702 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 255, as amended, 42 U. S. C. § 2000e-1, exempts religious organizations from Title VII's prohibition against discrimination in employment on the basis of religion.[1] The question presented *330 is whether applying the § 702 exemption to the secular nonprofit activities of religious organizations violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The District Court held that it does, and these cases are here on direct appeal pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 1252.[2] We reverse.

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This case requires us to consider whether the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause prohibits the Government from permitting timber harvesting in, or constructing a road through, a portion of a National Forest that has traditionally *442 been used for religious purposes by members of three American Indian tribes in northwestern California. We conclude that it does not.

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Respondents are drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation counselors who were discharged after they ingested peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, during a religious ceremony of the Native American Church. Both applied for and were denied unemployment compensation by petitioner Employment Division. The Oregon Supreme Court held that this denial, although *662 proper as a matter of Oregon law, violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution.[1] In reaching that conclusion the state court attached no significance to the fact that the possession of peyote is a felony under Oregon law punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years.[2] Because we are persuaded that the alleged illegality of respondents' conduct is relevant to the constitutional analysis, we granted certiorari, 480 U. S. 916 (1987), and now vacate the judgments and remand for further proceedings.

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This litigation involves a challenge to a federal grant program that provides funding for services relating to adolescent sexuality and pregnancy. Considering the federal statute both "on its face" and "as applied," the District Court ruled that the statute violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment insofar as it provided for the involvement of religious organizations in the federally funded programs. We conclude, however, that the statute is not unconstitutional on its face, and that a determination of whether any of the grants made pursuant to the statute violate the Establishment Clause requires further proceedings in the District Court.

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489 U.S. 1 (1989) TEXAS MONTHLY, INC. v. BULLOCK, COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS OF STATE OF TEXAS, ET AL. No. 87-1245. Supreme Court of United States. Argued November 1, 1988 Decided February 21, 1989 APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS OF TEXAS, THIRD DISTRICT *4 Roger James George, Jr., argued the cause for appellant, With… Read more

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The Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act provides that "[a]n individual shall be ineligible for benefits if he has failed, without good cause, either to apply for available, suitable work when so directed . . . or to accept suitable work when offered him . . . ." Ill. Rev. Stat., ch. 48, ¶ 433 (1986). In April 1984, William Frazee refused a temporary retail position offered him by Kelly Services because the job would have required him to work on Sunday. Frazee told Kelly that, as a Christian, he could not work on "the Lord's day." Frazee then applied to the Illinois Department of Employment Security for unemployment benefits claiming that there was good cause for his refusal to work on Sunday. His application was denied. Frazee appealed the denial of benefits to the Department of Employment Security's Board of Review, which also denied his claim. The Board of Review stated: "When a refusal of work is based on religious convictions, the refusal must be based upon some tenets or dogma accepted by the individual of some church, sect, or denomination, and such a refusal based solely on an individual's personal belief is personal and noncompelling and does not render the work unsuitable." *831 App. 18-19. The Board of Review concluded that Frazee had refused an offer of suitable work without good cause. The Circuit Court of the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois, Peoria County, affirmed, finding that the agency's decision was "not contrary to law nor against the manifest weight of the evidence," thereby rejecting Frazee's claim based on the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Id., at 23.

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492 U.S. 573 (1989) COUNTY OF ALLEGHENY ET AL. v. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, GREATER PITTSBURGH CHAPTER, ET AL.   No. 87-2050. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued February 22, 1989 Decided July 3, 1989[*] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT*577 Peter Buscemi argued the cause for petitioners… Read more

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This case presents the question whether the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment prohibit a State from imposing a generally applicable sales and use tax on the distribution of religious materials by a religious organization.

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Respondents Smith and Black were fired by a private drug rehabilitation organization because they ingested peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, for sacramental purposes at a ceremony of their Native American Church. Their applications for unemployment compensation were denied by the State of Oregon under a state law disqualifying employees discharged for work-related "misconduct." Holding that the denials violated respondents' First Amendment free exercise rights, the State Court of Appeals reversed. The State Supreme Court affirmed, but this Court vacated the judgment and remanded for a determination whether sacramental peyote use is proscribed by the State's controlled substance law, which makes it a felony to knowingly or intentionally possess the drug. Pending that determination, the Court refused to decide whether such use is protected by the Constitution. On remand, the State Supreme Court held that sacramental peyote use violated, and was not excepted from, the state law prohibition, but concluded that that prohibition was invalid under the Free Exercise Clause.

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496 U.S. 226 (1990) BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE WESTSIDE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS (DIST. 66) ET AL. v. MERGENS, BY AND THROUGH HER NEXT FRIEND, MERGENS, ET AL.   No. 88-1597. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued January 9, 1990 Decided June 4, 1990 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH… Read more

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Principals of public middle and high schools in Providence, Rhode Island, were permitted to invite members of the clergy to give invocations and benedictions at their schools' graduation ceremonies. Petitioner Lee, a middle school principal, invited a rabbi to offer such prayers at the graduation ceremony for Deborah Weisman's class, gave the rabbi a pamphlet containing guidelines for the composition of public prayers at civic ceremonies, and advised him that the prayers should be nonsectarian. Shortly before the ceremony, the District Court denied the motion of respondent Weisman, Deborah's father, for a temporary restraining order to prohibit school officials from including the prayers in the ceremony. Deborah and her family attended the ceremony, and the prayers were recited. Subsequently, Weisman sought a permanent injunction barring Lee and other petitioners, various Providence public school officials, from inviting clergy to deliver invocations and benedictions at future graduations.

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The school district of Center Moriches, New York, adopted rules that permitted its facilities to be used for social, civic, and recreational purposes, but that prohibited any group from using the facilities for religious purposes. Lamb's Chapel, an evangelical church, applied for permission to show a six-part film series in one of the buildings. The series presented a religious perspective on family issues and child rearing. The school district denied the application, relying on the prohibition against using the facilities for religious purposes. Lamb's Chapel sued in federal court, but both the trial court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of the school district. A government is not obligated to make its non-public facilities available for use by the general public. Even when it does so, it may limit the purposes for which the facilities may be used. The government may not, however, deny access to the facilities based upon the viewpoint of the person who seeks access to them.Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense and Ed. Fund, 473 U.S. 788 (1985). A government may deny access to a religious group if allowing access would violate the First Amendment's prohibition against establishing a religion. One test for evaluating whether the Establishment Clause is being violated is set forth in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971) — whether the challenged governmental action has a secular purpose, whether the action has the principal effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and whether it fosters an excessive entanglement with religion. While never quite repudiated, this test has proven unpopular with many members of the Court.

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508 U.S. 520 (1993) CHURCH OF THE LUKUMI BABALU AYE, INC., ET AL. v. CITY OF HIALEAH   No. 91-948. United States Supreme Court.   Argued November 4, 1992. Decided June 11, 1993. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT*521 *522 Kennedy, J., delivered the opinion of the Court with… Read more

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Petitioner James Zobrest, who has been deaf since birth, asked respondent school district to provide a sign-language interpreter to accompany him to classes at a Roman Catholic high school in Tucson, Arizona, pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U. S. C. § 1400 et seq., and its Arizona counterpart, Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15761 et seq. (1991 and Supp. 1992). The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided, however, that provision of such a publicly employed interpreter would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. We hold that the Establishment Clause does not bar the school district from providing the requested interpreter.

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512 U.S. 687 (1994) BOARD OF EDUCATION OF KIRYAS JOEL VILLAGE SCHOOL DISTRICT v. GRUMET     No. 93-517. United States Supreme Court.    Argued March 30, 1994. Decided June 27, 1994.[*] CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF NEW YORK*689 Souter, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the… Read more

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Ohio law maked Capitol Square, the statehouse plaza in Columbus, a forum for discussion of public questions and for public activities, and gave petitioner Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (Board) responsibility for regulating access to the square. To use the square, a group must simply fill out an official application form and meet several speechneutral criteria. After the Board denied, on Establishment Clause grounds, the application of respondent Ku Klux Klan to place an unattended cross on the square during the 1993 Christmas season, the Klan filed this suit. The District Court entered an injunction requiring issuance of the requested permit, and the Board permitted the Klan to erect its cross. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the judgment, adding to a conflict among the Courts of Appeals as to whether a private, unattended display of a religious symbol in a public forum violates the Establishment Clause.

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The University of Virginia, a public university, used public money to subsidize publishing costs for nonreligious student groups. The university denied funds to a Christian student group that requested financial assistance to publish a newspaper that would “challenge Christians to live, in word and deed, according to the faith they proclaim and to encourage students to consider what a personal relationship with Jesus Christ means.”

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In Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U. S. 402, 413, this Court held that New York City's program that sent public school teachers into parochial schools to provide remedial education to disadvantaged children pursuant to Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 necessitated an excessive entanglement of church and state and violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. On remand, the District Court entered a permanent injunction reflecting that ruling. Some 10 years later, petitioners-the parties bound by the injunction-filed motions in the same court seeking relief from the injunction's operation under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5). They emphasized the significant costs of complying with Aguilar and the assertions of five Justices in Board of Ed. of Kiryas Joel Village School Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U. S. 687, that Aguilar should be reconsidered, and argued that relief was proper under Rule 60(b)(5) and Rufo v. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U. S. 367, 388, because Aguilar cannot be squared with this Court's intervening Establishment Clause jurisprudence and is no longer good law.

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In 1993, the St. Peter Catholic Church in Boerne, Texas, applied to city officials for permission to expand the size of the church. The city's Landmark Commission denied the church's request on the grounds that the church's facade was within the city's historic district. After the city council rejected the church's appeal, the church sued in federal court, claiming that the local ordinance establishing the city's historic district was unconstitutional and violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. __ 2000bb et seq. ("RFRA"). Congress passed the RFRA in 1993 in response to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Employment Division, Dep't of Human Resources v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990). In Smith, the Court held that laws not directed at religion are constitutional even if they adversely affect persons who are attempting to practice their religions. The RFRA establishes a higher standard than the decision in Smith and provides that a law may not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion unless the government demonstrates that the law furthers a compelling governmental interest and that the law is the least restrictive way of furthering that interest. The trial court rejected the church's argument and ruled that the RFRA was unconstitutional because it infringed on the authority of courts to establish standards for evaluating constitutional issues. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the RFRA was constitutional because the law did not usurp the judiciary's power to interpret the Constitution. Rather, according to the appellate court, the RFRA simply created rights and protections in addition to the constitutional rights already recognized by the courts. Congress can legislate only in those areas permitted by the Constitution. In passing the RFRA, Congress relied on its power under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to adopt laws designed to enforce individual rights. Although the Court had on many occasions examined Congress' power under Section 5, it had not clearly articulated the limits on that authority.

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Prior to 1995, the Santa Fe High School student who occupied the school's elective office of student council chaplain delivered a prayer over the public address system before each varsity football game for the entire season. This practice, along with others, was challenged in District Court as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. While these proceedings were pending in the District Court, the school district adopted a different policy that permits, but does not require, prayer initiated and led by a student at all home games. The District Court entered an order modifying that policy to permit only nonsectarian, nonproselytizing prayer. The Court of Appeals held that, even as modified by the District Court, the football prayer policy was invalid. We granted the school district's petition for certiorari to review that holding.

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530 U.S. 793 (2000) MITCHELL et al. v. HELMS et al.   No. 98-1648. United States Supreme Court.   Argued December 1, 1999. Decided June 28, 2000. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT*795 *795 *796 *797 *798 *799 Thomas, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an… Read more

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About 500 students attend the Milford Central School (Milford, N.Y.), which houses grades K-12. The Child Evangelism Fellowship, a non-sectarian, Christian missionary organization, sponsors some 4,400 Good News clubs in the United States for children ages 6 to 12. The 'tender age' of the children in question is central to the Court's analysis of the case. Rev. Stephen Fournier and his wife lead the Good News Club of Milford; it has approximately 25 members. New York state allows local school boards to adopt their own regulations for community use of school property. The Milford school district's policy is stated in a handbook: (1) School facilities "may be used by district residents for holding social, civic and recreational meetings and entertainment events and other uses pertaining to the welfare of the community …" (2) "School premises shall not be used by any individual or organization for religious purposes." In 1996 the Good News Club of Milford, for reasons not relevant to the case, seeks a new place in which to conduct its meetings. It submits a 'District Use of Facilities Request' asking to use the school as a meeting place. An interim superintendent refuses access, finding that the Good News Club's meetings would be "the equivalent of religious worship … rather than the expression of religious views or values on a secular subject." After an attorney raises the issue that denial of access to the Good News Club while access is allowed to the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the 4-H Club may violate the club's rights, school official solicit additional information about the meetings of the club, reconsider the request for facility access, and again deny access to the club. Both parties agreed that the school district created a limited public forum by issuing its community use policy for school facilities. A government-operated limited public forum is not required to and does not allow individuals to engage in all types of speech. Under Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819 (1995), content-based discrimination is allowed in a limited public forum so long as the restricted speech falls outside the purpose of the limited forum. Viewpoint-based discrimination, however, is impermissible if the speech in question falls within the purpose of the limited forum. Thus, the government may restrict speech within the limited public forum if the restriction is not a viewpoint-based limitation and if the restriction is reasonable in light of the forum's purpose. The parties disagree, however, about whether club access would be a government endorsement of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause. The clause prohibits government speech endorsing religion while private speech in support of religion is protected by the Free Speech and Free Exercise clauses. With respect to equal access to limited public forums for religious groups, the Supreme Court typically finds no violation of the Establishment Clause where there is little concern that the public would perceive an endorsement of religion by the government entity and where any benefit to religion is merely incidental. In 1997 the Good News Club files in federal district court and offers arguments related to freedom of speech, equal protection and religious freedom under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The district court holds in summary judgment for the Milford Central School. In 2000 Hearing an appeal limited to the First Amendment issue claim, the 2nd Circuit panel (2-1) affirms the district court's dismissal of the free speech claim. The appellate court finds that the school was not discriminating between viewpoints but rather had excluded the club because the content of its meetings consisted of "religious instruction and prayer" — a permissible viewpoint-neutral reason. The Supreme Court grants the petition for cert. on October 10.

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In 1998, the village of Stratton, Ohio, passes an ordinance designed to regulate canvassing and soliciting of its residents at their homes. The ordinance requires would-be canvassers to obtain a permit at no cost from the village. The ordinance requires canvassers to carry their permits when they go door-to-door and show their identification when asked by either the police or a resident. The ordinance imposes criminal penalties on those who fail to comply with this ordinance. In June 1999, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. and individual Jehovah Witnesses sue in federal court, seeking a declaration that the ordinance violates the First Amendment. They argue it infringes on their free-speech, free-press, free-association and free exercise of religion rights. They also argue that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it infringes on the right to engage in anonymous speech. In August 1999, U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr. rules that the ordinance validly applies to the Jehovah's Witnesses. The judge determines that the plaintiffs were "canvassers" who went to homes for the purpose of "explaining their cause." The judge strikes down, or modifies, three portions of the ordinance. On Feb. 20, 2001, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the remaining portions of the ordinance in a 2-1 opinion. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton, 240 F.3d 553 (6th Cir. 2001). The panel majority determined that the ordinance was content-neutral and applied generally to everyone, rather than specifically targeting Jehovah Witnesses. The majority determined that the ordinance was designed to help prevent fraud and to protect residential privacy. The panel rejected the anonymity argument, finding that the canvassers already lose their anonymity when they reveal their physical identities at residents' doorsteps.

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The State of Ohio has established a pilot program designed to provide educational choices to families with children who *644 reside in the Cleveland City School District. The question presented is whether this program offends the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. We hold that it does not.

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The State of Washington established the Promise Scholarship Program to assist academically gifted students with postsecondary education expenses. In accordance with the State Constitution, students may not use the scholarship at an institution where they are pursuing a degree in devotional theology. We hold that such an exclusion from an otherwise inclusive aid program does not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

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Section 3 of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA or Act), 114 Stat. 804, 42 U. S. C. § 2000cc-1(a)(1)-(2), provides in part: "No government shall impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person residing in or confined to an institution," unless the burden furthers "a compelling governmental interest," and does so by "the least restrictive means." Plaintiffs below, petitioners here, are current and former inmates of institutions operated by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and assert that they are adherents of "nonmainstream" religions: the Satanist, Wicca, and Asatru religions, and the Church of Jesus Christ Christian.[1] They complain that Ohio prison officials (respondents here), in violation of RLUIPA, have failed to accommodate their religious exercise

*713 "in a variety of different ways, including retaliating and discriminating against them for exercising their nontraditional faiths, denying them access to religious literature, denying them the same opportunities for group worship that are granted to adherents of mainstream religions, forbidding them to adhere to the dress and appearance mandates of their religions, withholding religious ceremonial items that are substantially identical to those that the adherents of mainstream religions are permitted, and failing to provide a chaplain trained in their faith." Brief for United States 5.
For purposes of this litigation at its current stage, respondents have stipulated that petitioners are members of bona fide religions and that they are sincere in their beliefs. Gerhardt v. Lazaroff, 221 F. Supp. 2d 827, 833 (SD Ohio 2002).

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545 U.S. 677 (2005) VAN ORDEN v. PERRY, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF TEXAS AND CHAIRMAN, STATE PRESERVATION BOARD, ET AL. No. 03-1500. Supreme Court of United States. Argued March 2, 2005. Decided June 27, 2005. *679 Erwin Chemerinsky argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Mark Rosenbaum and… Read more

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Executives of two counties posted a version of the Ten Commandments on the walls of their courthouses. After suits were filed charging violations of the Establishment Clause, the legislative body of each county adopted a resolution calling for a more extensive exhibit meant to show that the Commandments are Kentucky's "precedent legal code," Def. Exh. 1 in Memorandum in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss in Civ. Action No. 99-507, p. 1 (ED Ky.) (hereinafter Def. Exh. 1). The result in each instance was a modified display of the Commandments surrounded by texts containing religious references as their sole common element. After changing counsel, the counties revised the exhibits again by eliminating some documents, expanding the text set out in another, and adding some new ones.

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A religious sect with origins in the Amazon Rainforest receives communion by drinking a sacramental tea, brewed from plants unique to the region, that contains a hallucinogen regulated under the Controlled Substances Act by the Federal Government. The Government concedes that this practice is a sincere exercise of religion, but nonetheless sought to prohibit the small American branch of the sect from engaging in the practice, on the ground that the Controlled Substances Act bars all use of the hallucinogen. The sect sued to block enforcement against it of the ban on the sacramental tea, and moved for a preliminary injunction.

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(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2009 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for… Read more

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Respondent Hastings College of the Law (Hastings), a school within the University of California public-school system, denied “Registered Student Organization” (RSO) status to its chapter of the Christian Legal Society (CLS). Several benefits attend this school-approved status, including the use of school funds, facilities, and channels of communication, as well as Hastings’ name and logo. RSOs must abide by certain conditions, including the school’s Nondiscrimination Policy. Hastings interpreted its policy as to mandate acceptance of all comers: RSOs must allow any student to participate, become a member, or seek leadership positions, regardless of her status or beliefs. CLS, on the other hand, interpreted its bylaws to exclude from affiliation anyone who engages in “unrepentant homosexual conduct” or holds religious convictions different from those in the Statement of Faith. Hastings rejected CLS’s application for RSO status on the ground that the group’s bylaws did not comply with Hastings’ open-access policy because they excluded students based on religion and sexual orientation. CLS filed this suit for injunctive and declaratory relief under 42 U. S. C. §1983, alleging that Hastings’ refusal to grant the group RSO status violated its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free speech, expressive association, and free exercise of religion.

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Petitioner Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School is a member congregation of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. The Synod classifies its school teachers into two categories: “called” and “lay.” “Called” teachers are regarded as having been called to their vocation by God. To be eligible to be considered “called,” a teacher must complete certain academic requirements, including a course of theological study. Once called, a teacher receives the formal title “Minister of Religion, Commissioned.” “Lay” teachers, by contrast, are not required to be trained by the Synod or even to be Lutheran. Although lay and called teachers at Hosanna-Tabor generally performed the same duties, lay teachers were hired only when called teachers were unavailable. After respondent Cheryl Perich completed the required training, Hosanna-Tabor asked her to become a called teacher. Perich accepted the call and was designated a commissioned minister. In addition to teaching secular subjects, Perich taught a religion class, led her students in daily prayer and devotional exercises, and took her students to a weekly school-wide chapel service. Perich led the chapel service herself about twice a year. Perich developed narcolepsy and began the 2004–2005 school year on disability leave. In January 2005, she notified the school principal that she would be able to report to work in February. The principal responded that the school had already contracted with a lay teacher to fill Perich’s position for the remainder of the school year. The principal also expressed concern that Perich was not yet ready to return to the classroom. The congregation subsequently offered to pay a portion of Perich’s health insurance premiums in exchange for her resignation as a called teacher. Perich refused to resign. In February, Perich presented herself at the school and refused to leave until she received written documentation that she had reported to work. The principal later called Perich and told her that she would likely be fired. Perich responded that she had spoken with an attorney and intended to assert her legal rights. In a subsequent letter, the chairman of the school board advised Perich that the congregation would consider whether to rescind her call at its next meeting. As grounds for termination, the letter cited Perich’s “insubordination and disruptive behavior,” as well as the damage she had done to her “working relationship” with the school by “threatening to take legal action.” The congregation voted to rescind Perich’s call, and Hosanna-Tabor sent her a letter of termination. Perich filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that her employment had been terminated in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC brought suit against Hosanna-Tabor, alleging that Perich had been fired in retaliation for threatening to file an ADA lawsuit. Perich intervened in the litigation. Invoking what is known as the “ministerial exception,” Hosanna-Tabor argued that the suit was barred by the First Amendment because the claims concerned the employment relationship between a religious institution and one of its ministers. The District Court agreed and granted summary judgment in Hosanna-Tabor’s favor. The Sixth Circuit vacated and remanded. It recognized the existence of a ministerial exception rooted in the First Amendment, but concluded that Perich did not qualify as a “minister” under the exception.

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(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2013 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for… Read more

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The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) prohibits the “Government [from] substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability” unless the Government “demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” 42 U. S. C. §§2000bb–1(a), (b). As amended by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), RFRA covers “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” §2000cc–5(7)(A). The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), which, as relevant here, requires specified employers’ group health plans to furnish “preventive care and screenings” for women without “any cost sharing requirements,” 42 U. S. C. §300gg–13(a)(4). Congress did not specify what types of preventive care must be covered; it authorized the Health Resources and Services Administration, a component of HHS, to decide. Nonexempt employers are generally required to provide coverage for the 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including the 4 that may have the effect of preventing an already fertilized egg from developing any further by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus. Religious employers, such as churches, are exempt from this contraceptive mandate. HHS also effectively exempted religious nonprofit organizations with religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services. Under this accommodation, the insurance issuer must exclude contraceptive coverage from the employer’s plan and provide plan participants with separate payments for contraceptive services without imposing any cost-sharing requirements on the employer, its insurance plan, or its employee beneficiaries. In these cases, the owners of three closely held for-profit corporations have sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point. In separate actions, they sued HHS and other federal officials and agencies (collectively HHS) under RFRA and the Free Exercise Clause, seeking to enjoin application of the contraceptive mandate insofar as it requires them to provide health coverage for the four objectionable contraceptives.

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A Muslim prisoner challenged a prison policy that denied a religious accommodation to allow a prisoner to grow a half-inch beard. He brought the challenge under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) against members of the staff, including the director, of the Arkansas Department of Correction. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas adopted the position of a magistrate and dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim. He appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed.

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