Minersville school district v gobitis

June 3, [ U.

Minersville school district v gobitis

Articles, news and insights about free expression in America

Background[ edit ] Jehovah's Witnesses and compulsory flag pledges[ edit ] Mandatory flag pledges in public schools were motivated by patriotic fervor in wartime America. The Minersville school district v gobitis known mandatory flag pledges were instituted in a number of states during the Spanish—American War.

During World War I, many more states instituted mandatory flag pledges with only a few dissents recorded by the American Civil Liberties Union. Rutherfordwas interviewed at a Witness convention about "the flag salute by children in school". He told the convention audience that to salute an earthly emblem, ascribing salvation to it, was unfaithfulness to God.

Rutherford said that he would not do it. Rutherford gave a radio address praising Nichols, [7] and schools around the country began expelling Witness students and firing Witness teachers.

Jehovah's Witnesses published the booklet Loyalty, making the matter an official doctrine of the faith before the end of The national leadership subsequently decided to make an issue of the forced pledges and asked people to stand up for their right to religious freedom.

Gobitas was inspired by stories of other Jehovah's Witnesses who challenged the system and suffered for it, and decided to make a stand himself and instructed his children not to pledge allegiance when at school.

Minersville, Pennsylvania was predominantly Roman Catholic and there was significant animosity towards the Jehovah's Witnesses. Tensions were already high before this case arose and many viewed this as one way to get back at the Witnesses.

As a result, his children were subjected to teasing, taunting, and attacks from the other kids. For Lillian, this meant giving up her status as class president and losing most of her friends.

Because of their eventual expulsion, their father had to pay for them to enroll in a private school, resulting in even more economic hardship.

Finally, though, the school board got permission to punish the Gobitas children and expelled them, without appeal. During the trial, school superintendent Roudabush displayed contempt for the beliefs of the children, stating that he felt they had been "indoctrinated" and that the existence of even a few dissenters would be "demoralizing," leading to widespread disregard for the flag and American values.

Four months later District Judge Albert B.

Minersville school district v gobitis

Maris found that the board's requirement that the children salute the flag was an unconstitutional violation of their free exercise of religious beliefs. Oral arguments in the appeal were made before the Third Circuit of the U. Court of Appeals on 9 November One year later, the three-judge court unanimously affirmed the district court decision.

Minersville School District v. Gobitis - Wikipedia

Joseph Rutherfordpresident of the Watch Tower Society, and himself a lawyer, took over the defense, assisted by the new head of the religious group's Legal Department, Hayden Covington. In an 8-to-1 decision, the Court upheld the mandatory flag salute, declining to make itself "the school board for the country.

He identified the Pennsylvania flag-salute requirement as an intrinsically secular policy enacted to encourage patriotism among school children. Frankfurter wrote that the school district's interest in creating national unity was enough to allow them to require students to salute the flag.

According to Frankfurter, the nation needed loyalty and the unity of all the people. Since saluting the flag was a primary means of achieving this legitimate goal, an issue of national importance was at stake.

The Court held that the state's interest in "national cohesion" was "inferior to none in the hierarchy of legal values". National unity is the basis of national security.

To deny the legislature the right to select appropriate means for its attainment presents a totally different order of problem from that of the propriety of subordinating the possible ugliness of littered streets to the free expression opinion through handbills.

Weighing the circumstances in this case, he argued that the social need for conformity with the requirement was greater than the individual liberty claims of the Jehovah's Witnesses. He emphasized that Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs Frankfurter further wrote that the recitation of a pledge advanced the cause of patriotism in the United States.

He said the country's foundation as a free society depends upon building sentimental ties. The flag, the Court found, was an important symbol of national unity and could be a part of legislative initiatives designed "to promote in the minds of children who attend the common schools an attachment to the institutions of their country.

The guarantees of civil liberty are but guarantees of freedom of the human mind and spirit and of reasonable freedom and opportunity to express them The very essence of the liberty which they guarantee is the freedom of the individual from compulsion as to what he shall think and what he shall say On June 18, townspeople in Rawlins, Wyoming brutally beat five Witnesses; on June 22, the people of Parco, Wyoming tarred and feathered another.

The American Civil Liberties Union reported to the Justice Department that nearly 1, Witnesses were physically attacked in more than communities nationwide. One Southern sheriff told a reporter why Witnesses were being run out of town: City of Opelika that, although they had concurred with the majority in the Gobitis case, they now believed that that case had been wrongly decided.Gobitis is discussed: Harlan Fiske Stone: the lone dissenter when, in Minersville School District v.

Gobitis, U.S. (), the court upheld a state ruling that children who were Jehovah’s Witnesses must join in saluting the American flag in public schools.

The origins of the flag salute controversy at the heart of the Supreme Court case Minersville School District v. Gobitis can be traced to Nazi Germany. In , on the orders of Adolf Hitler. Minersville School District v. Gobitis () Summary. Billy Gobitis, a ten-year-old Pennsylvania public school student, refused to salute the American flag because doing so .

Gobitis sued and won, and the school board appealed. The court reasoned that though the right to believe in one's religion is paramount, it must be balanced against the government's interest for.

Lillian Gobitis, aged twelve, and her brother William, aged ten, were expelled from the public schools of Minersville, Pennsylvania, for refusing to salute the national flag as part of a daily school exercise.

A U.S. district court in Pennsylvania enjoined the school district from expelling the students. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling. Since the decision ran counter to the Supreme Court’s prior dispositions on this issue, the Court granted certiorari to review the policy.

Minersville School District v. Gobitis - Wikipedia