PLS 460 Religion Notes

PLS 460 Religion Notes - Free Exercise Reynolds v United...

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Free Exercise Reynolds v United States 98 U.S. (8 Otto) 145 (1878) The Court was asked to rule on the application of federal legislation on bigamy a crime in any federal territory. Justice Waite distinguished the province of belief from that of action. Since bigamy was a practice and not just religious belief or opinion it could be regulated. Hamilton v Regents of the University of California 293 U.S. 245 (1934) Court sustained the constitutionality of a California law requiring students to take a course on military science and tactics. Cantwell v Connecticut 310 U.S. 296 (1940) Cantwell a Jehovah Witness was stopping passers-by and playing them a recorded religious message and also did not obtain a permit. Court held that the free exercise guarantee was applicable to the states through the Due Process Clause of the 14 th Amendment. In Hamilton, incorporation of the free exercise guarantee appeared a matter of dictum; in Cantwell the Court so held. Sherbert v Verner 374 U.S. 398 The Warren court replaced the belief-practice distinction as the litmus of governmental regulation with strict scrutiny. Sherbert, a Seventh Day Adventist, was dismissed by her employer for refusing to work on Saturday, the Sabbath Day in her faith. She also refused work at other textile plants for the same reason. She was denied unemployment benefits. The Court reversed the denial of benefits finding that the asserted state interest insufficiently compelling.
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Thomas v Indiana Employment Security Review Board 450 U.S. 707 (1981) The Court reviewed and applied the approach in Sherbert. Thomas, a Jehovah Witness, quit his job because manufacturing armaments was against his religious beliefs. The Court per Chief Justice Burger, overturned Indiana’s denial of benefits. The state failed to show that it had used “the least restrictive means of achieving some compelling state interest.” Rehnquist in dissent argued that the Court’s approach to the two Religion Clauses has cause unnecessary problems, especially the potential for the two to collide. He urged a more restrained reading of both clauses. Wisconsin v Yoder 406 U.S. 205 (1972) The court invalidated application of Wisconsin’s law requiring compulsory school attendance until age 16 to Amish children. The Amish refused to send their children to public schools beyond the eighth grade. The state’s interest in promoting self-reliant and self-sufficient participants in society was not undermined by an exemption for the Amish. Most Amish children stayed in the community and were well-suited for life in their society. The state interest in including the Amish under the law was not sufficiently overriding to justify the significant burden on religious liberty.
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Employment Division v Smith 494 U.S. 872 A state may validly deny unemployment compensation to Indian workers who were fired from their jobs because of work-related misconduct resulting from the use of the drug peyote while participating in the rites of the Native American Church. Such denial does
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PLS 460 Religion Notes - Free Exercise Reynolds v United...

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