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Majority Opinions Authored by Justice Pierce Butler

A California state law required University of California students to take a course in military science and tactics, the validity of which was by the appellants challenged as repugnant to the Constitution and laws of the United States. The appellants are the above-named minors and the fathers of each as his guardian ad litem and individually. These minors are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and of the Epworth League and connected religious societies and organizations. Appellants, as members of that church, accept and feel themselves morally, religiously, and conscientiously bound by its tenets and discipline, and holds as a part of his religious and conscientious belief that war, training for war, and military training are immoral, wrong, and contrary to the letter and spirit of His teaching and the precepts of the Christian religion. These students, at the beginning of the fall term in 1933, petitioned the University for exemption from military training and participation in the activities of the training corps upon the ground of their religious and conscientious objection to war and to military training. Their petition was denied. They petitioned the regents that military training be made optional, which the regents refused to do. Then, because of their religious and conscientious objections, they declined to take the prescribed course, and, solely upon that ground, the regents, by formal notification, suspended them from the University, but with leave to apply for readmission at any time conditioned upon their ability and willingness to comply with all applicable regulations of the University governing the matriculation and attendance of students. The University afforded opportunity for education such as could not be had at any other institution in California except at a greater cost which these minors were not able to pay. They were also willing to take as a substitute for military training such other courses as may be prescribed by the University.



Respondent filed a petition for naturalization in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The court found her unable, without mental reservation, to take the prescribed oath of allegiance and not attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and not well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same; and it denied her application. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decree and directed the District Court to grant respondent's petition. 27 F. (2d) 742.