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Paper 1 - Woo 1 Kristie Woo Professor John Skrentny DOC 2:...

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Woo 1 Kristie Woo Professor John Skrentny DOC 2: Justice (C20) 8 February 2010 Justice Redefined In Supreme Court case Minersville School District v. Gobitis , Justice Frankfurter presses forth to the U.S. that “national unity is the basis of national security”, and that there are but a few narrow pathways by which the U.S. can attain national unity ( Gobitis 116). As for Frankfurter, one of those narrow pathways is expressing patriotism—or rather, coercing patriotism. Arguing that the flag is a crucial American symbol, Justice Frankfurter focuses on how the refusal of two Jehovah Witness’ children to salute the flag is a blatant refusal of patriotism and all the greatness, freedom, and values of society embodied by the flag. Yet, in Supreme Court case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette , this coerced and unjust patriotism undergoes close scrutiny as Justice Jackson exposes its infringement upon the children’s right to freely express their religion—an unalienable right given to them by the First Amendment. By reversing the Gobitis decision, Justice Jackson makes way for fair and natural patriotism to flourish in America. Through Supreme Court cases Gobitis and Barnette , the Supreme Court’s definition of justice undergoes a significant transformation as the U.S. converges on Lillian and William Gobitis’ refusal to salute the flag because of their religious beliefs. In effect, the U.S. is forced to take majority rule down from the pedestal it had been placed upon, redefine the methods of exuding true patriotism, and redraw the just boundaries that authority cannot cross before impeding on individual rights.
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Woo 2 Out of respect for democracy and the majority population in Minersville, Justice Frankfurter rules in favor of requiring the flag salute in pubic schools, unheeding to Alexis de Tocqueville’s warning of the tyrannical rule of majorities where “the interest of the greatest number of people is preferred to that of those who are fewer” (De Tocqueville 99). Though acting out of respect for their religion, Lillian and William Gobitis’ refusal to salute the flag at their Minersville public school made them a natural minority amongst a ruling majority. Yet because they were a minority, the Jehovah’s Witness children were nevertheless forced to participate in “patriotic” activities that violated their religious beliefs and their First Amendment right to freely express their religion. Furthermore, their small number hindered their ability to be heard and were instead disregarded. In persistence, Frankfurter held national unity as an utmost
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This note was uploaded on 10/09/2011 for the course DOC 2 taught by Professor Wimberley during the Winter '08 term at UCSD.

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Paper 1 - Woo 1 Kristie Woo Professor John Skrentny DOC 2:...

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