Presentation on theme: "West Virginia Board of Ed v. Barnette"— Presentation transcript:
1 West Virginia Board of Ed v. Barnette March-June, 1943Created By Chelsea S.
2 backgroundThe 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 deathJust kidding, more like detentionJehovah’s Witnesses forbid pledging oneself to a ‘graven image’ and consider the flag suchWalter Barnette, a Jehovah’s Witness sued the school board
3 Does requiring school children to salute the flag violate their first amendment rights? The issue
4 precedentIn 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 Jehovah’s Witnesses)The case focused on an individual’s right to freedom of religion protected by the First AmendmentThe 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…””The decision hence reaches the conclusion that compulsory measures toward ‘national unity’ are constitutional’
5 The caseWalter Barnette sued in U.S. district court and won an injunction against enforcement of the ruleThe West Virginia Board of Ed. appealed to the U.S. Supreme CourtThe Court overturned the Gobitis ruling in a 6-3 decisionThe majority opinion cited an individual’s 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 14thThe Court ruled that “compulsory unification of opinion” was contradictory to First Amendment values
6 A 6-3 vote Chief Justice Stone Rutledge Jackson Reed Frankfurter BlackDouglasRobertsChief Justice StoneRutledgeJacksonMurphyReedFrankfurterReally? Frankfurter?
7 implicationsThe opinion specified that the freedom of speech included the right not to be forced to speak against one’s will and represented one of the most sweeping statements about the extent of the free exercise clauseThe 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 8th grade)