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WEST VIRGINIA BOARD OF ED V. BARNETTE March-June, 1943 Created By Chelsea S.

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Presentation on theme: "WEST VIRGINIA BOARD OF ED V. BARNETTE March-June, 1943 Created By Chelsea S."— Presentation transcript:

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2 WEST VIRGINIA BOARD OF ED V. BARNETTE March-June, 1943 Created By Chelsea S.

3 BACKGROUND The West Virginia Board of Education required all students enrolled in public school to salute the flag (est. 1942) Refusal to do so was punishable by death Just kidding, more like detention Jehovahs Witnesses forbid pledging oneself to a graven image and consider the flag such Walter Barnette, a Jehovahs Witness sued the school board

4 THE ISSUE Does requiring school children to salute the flag violate their first amendment rights?

5 PRECEDENT In Minersville School District v. Gobitis (1940) the court held (8-1) that the Minersville School District was justified in the expulsion of two students who refused to salute the flag on religious grounds (The children were also Jehovahs Witnesses) The case focused on an individuals right to freedom of religion protected by the First Amendment The decision argued that National unity is the basis of national security, [and] that the authorities have the right to select appropriate means for its attainment…

6 THE CASE Walter Barnette sued in U.S. district court and won an injunction against enforcement of the rule The West Virginia Board of Ed. appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court The Court overturned the Gobitis ruling in a 6-3 decision The majority opinion cited an individuals right to religious freedom and right to free speech protected by the first amendment as well as the right to equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by the 14 th The Court ruled that compulsory unification of opinion was contradictory to First Amendment values

7 A 6-3 VOTE BlackDouglas Robert s Chief Justice Stone RutledgeJackson Murphy Frankfurter Reed Really? Frankfurter?

8 IMPLICATIONS The opinion specified that the freedom of speech included the right not to be forced to speak against ones will and represented one of the most sweeping statements about the extent of the free exercise clause The Court went on to approve religious exemption in other cases as well, such as Sherbert v. Verner (allowed a Seventh-Day Adventist to receive unemployment despite not working on Saturdays) and Wisconsin v. Yoder (allowed Amish to withdraw their children from school after the 8 th grade)


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