Braunfeld v.

Brown
1961 Cantwell v. Connecticut
1939
Facts of the Case
Abraham Braunfeld owned a retail Facts of the Case
clothing and home furnishing store in Jesse Cantwell and his son were
Philadelphia. As an Orthodox Jew, he was Jehovah's Witnesses; they were
prohibited by his faith from working on proselytizing a predominantly Catholic
Saturday, the Sabbath. The Pennsylvania neighborhood in Connecticut. The
blue law only allowed certain stores to Cantwells distributed religious materials
remain open for business on Sundays. by travelling door-to-door and by
Braunfeld's store was not one of those approaching people on the street. After
types allowed to be open. He challenged voluntarily hearing an anti-Roman
the law as a violation of the religious Catholic message on the Cantwells'
liberty clauses because he needed to be portable phonograph, two pedestrians
open six days a week for economic reasons reacted angrily. The Cantwells were
and was prohibited from doing so by a subsequently arrested for violating a local
tenet of his faith and the blue law. ordinance requiring a permit for
solicitation and for inciting a breach of the
Question
peace.
Did the Pennsylvania blue law violate the
First Amendment's protection of free Question
exercise of religious beliefs? Did the solicitation statute or the "breach
of the peace" ordinance violate the
Conclusion
Cantwells' First Amendment free speech
Decision: 5 votes for Brown, 4 vote(s)
or free exercise rights?
against
Legal provision: Equal Protection Conclusion
Yes. In a unanimous decision, the Court
In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that
held that while general regulations on
the Pennsylvania blue law did not violate
solicitation were legitimate, restrictions
the Free Exercise Clause. The freedom to
based on religious grounds were not.
hold religious beliefs and opinions is
Because the statute allowed local officials
absolute; however, the freedom to act
to determine which causes were religious
(even in accordance with religious
and which ones were not, it violated the
convictions) is not totally free from
First and Fourteenth Amendments. The
government restrictions. The Court found
Court also held that while the
that the Sunday Closing Law had a
maintenance of public order was a valid
secular basis and did not make any
state interest, it could not be used to
religious practices unlawful. The blue law
justify the suppression of "free
is valid despite its indirect burden on
communication of views." The Cantwells'
religious observance unless the state can
message, while offensive to many, did not
accomplish its secular goal of providing a
entail any threat of "bodily harm" and
uniform day of rest for all through other
was protected religious speech.
means. That an indirect burden, such as
economic sacrifice, may be a result of the
statute, does not make the blue law
unconstitutional.

and the Supreme Court of Amendment as made applicable to the Pennsylvania declined to hear their states through the Fourteenth appeal. and Free Exercise transportation subsidy. the Supreme schools are "separate and so indisputably Court reversed the Superior Court of marked off from the religious function" Pennsylvania and held the ordinance that for the state to provide them would unconstitutional. though unconventional. In a 5-4 decision. characterized the Jehovah's nor did it support them directly in anyway. The Superior Court Question upheld the ordinance and their Did the New Jersey statute violate the Establishment Clause of the First convictions. After Religion clauses of the First detailing the history and importance of Amendment? the Establishment Clause. Free Press. freedom of religion are available to door within Jeannette. Writing for the not violate the First Amendment. "occupie[d] the same Murdock v. offering . religious texts in exchange for Everson v. The Jehovah's reimbursements of money to parents who Witnesses appealed to the Superior sent their children to school on buses operated by the public transportation Court of Pennsylvania." The Court recognized the The Borough of Jeannette. A divided Court held that the law did Freedom of Speech. license. Pennsylvania high estate under the First 1942 Amendment as do worship in the Facts of the Case churches and preaching from the pulpits. Though the solicitors that sold goods within the organization solicited donations in borough purchase a solicitation their distribution of literature. Press. Their door-to-door activities. Children who attended Catholic the ordinance violated the Free schools also qualified for this Speech. need of the Jehovah's Witnesses to Pennsylvania mandated that all sustain themselves. and not violate the Constitution. Douglas did not pay money to parochial schools. They were Facts of the Case convicted and fined for violating A New Jersey law allowed Jeannette's ordinance. The law majority. Justice William O. Justice Black argued that services like bussing and Conclusion police and fire protection for parochial Yes. He and other Jehovah's 1946 Witnesses were arrested for their solicitation of their texts. of Religion clauses of the First Amendment. freedom of the Jehovah's Witness who canvassed door press. Amendment? Question Conclusion Did Jeannette's ordinance violate the No. Robert Murdock was a "freedom of speech." school. alleging that system. Board of Educ donations. It was simply a law enacted as a Witnesses' activities in the borough as "general program" to assist parents of all "more than preaching" and "more than religions with getting their children to distribution of religious literature.

Furthermore. The test of religious belief within Conclusion the meaning of the exemption in § 6(j) Decision: 7 votes for Sherbert. 173-180. sociological or economic considerations." While the borough did 1965 have an interest in preserving the Syllabus public peace.. and was therefore who did not belong to an orthodox unconstitutional. Seeger their own way." Shertbert v. Section 6(j) excepts from combatant service in the armed forces those who are conscientiously opposed to participation in war by reason of their "religious training and belief. 380 U. 2 vote(s) is whether it is a sincere and against meaningful belief occupying in the life Legal provision: Free Exercise of of its possessor a place parallel to that Religion filled by the God of those admittedly Yes. compensation imposed a significant burden on Sherbert's ability to freely (a) The exemption does not cover those exercise her faith. rather than religious belief. 380 U. unacceptable her religious justification for refusing Saturday work. eligibility restrictions for unemployment S. In all the cases.e. personal moral code. the Jehovah's Witnesses were soliciting "peacefully and These three cases involve the quietly. 50 and 51 the Court of Appeals reversed." The ordinance did not further exemption claims under § 6(j) of the the borough's interest in restricting Universal Military Training and the activities of the Jehovah's Service Act of conscientious objectors Witnesses. in Nos. religious sect. 29. essentially political. S. . and in No. not merely to those who can pay US v. a member of the Seventh. of essentially political. Pp. the Sabbath Day of her faith. nor those who justified such a substantial burden on this decide that war is wrong on the basis basic First Amendment right. finding induction in the armed forces. The South convictions were obtained in the Carolina Employment Security District Courts for refusal to submit to Commission denied her benefits.to all. 173. or day Adventist Church. The Court held that the state's qualified for the exemption. belief in an individual's relation to 1962 a Supreme Being involving duties Facts of the Case beyond a human relationship but not Adeil Sherbert. Did the denial of unemployment compensation violate the First and Held: Fourteenth Amendments? 1. was fired from her philosophical views or a merely job after she refused to work on Saturday. the conviction Question was affirmed. there who oppose war from a merely was no compelling state interest which personal moral code. Verner i. sociological. P.

far less than taxation of churches would 326 F. S. S. established legislative policy of equal educational. 177-180. are sincerely held and whether they Held: are. S. and. was based on merely personal moral codes. treatment for those whose objection to Appellant contended that the military service is based on religious exemptions. and the implementing statute providing for tax exemptions for (c) This test accords with long property used exclusively for religious. and. as applied to religious beliefs. none of which Pp. authorized by the state constitution 380 U. 676-680. in his own scheme of things. 667-672. 380 U. or charitable purposes. has helped to guarantee the unsuccessfully sought an injunction in free exercise of all forms of religious the New York courts to prevent the belief. S. religious. 674-676. 397 U. violated provisions prohibiting 2. Freedom from taxation for two Syllabus centuries has not led to an established church or religion. minimal and remote involvement between church and state. 380 3. sponsoring. and it restricts the fiscal affirmed. or supporting Pp. Pp. Pp. Local boards and courts are to establishment of religion under the decide whether the objector's beliefs First and Fourteenth Amendments. City of New York 4. they are not to require proof 1. 185-188. thus tending to complement and reinforce the desired separation insulating each Walz v. as does not deal with that question. Page 380 U. relationship between them. Tax Commission of the from the other. S. 672-674. nor are they to reject beliefs exemptions is not aimed at because they are not comprehensible. 164 2. 173-174. S. The tax exemption creates only a U. 184-185. The First Amendment tolerates of the religious neither governmentally established religion nor governmental interference with religion. on the Appellant property owner contrary. The legislative purpose of tax doctrines. Under the broad construction from the burden of property taxation applicable to § 6(j). establishing. 380 U. Pp. S. 397 U. qualified for exemption. New York City Tax Commission from granting property tax exemptions to . 324 F. 397 U. S.2d 846 and 325 F. Pp. Pp. Pp.2d 173 reversed. the decision used solely for religious worship. bodies. and New York's legislation simply spares the exercise of religion 3. 397 U.(b) There is no issue here of atheistic religious organizations for properties beliefs.2d 409 entail. accordingly. the applications levied on private profit institutions. involved in these cases. religion. S.

and that they would endanger their own salvation and that Page 406 U. In applicable to the States by the light of this showing. Pp. Yoder 1972 2. interest of parents with respect to the affirmed. S. evidence showed that the Amish the interrelationship of belief with provide continuing informal vocational their mode of life. the Amish have demonstrated graduated from the eighth grade. Pp. The the sincerity of their religious beliefs.24 N. such as education would be adversely affected those specifically protected by the Free by granting an exemption to the Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the traditional . made compulsory high school education. were convicted of violating beliefs. members of the Old requirement after the eighth grade Order Amish religion and the would gravely endanger if not destroy Conservative Amish Mennonite the free exercise of their religious Church. 246 N. Aided by a history of three centuries attendance law (which requires a as an identifiable religious sect and a child's school attendance until age 16) long history as a successful and self- by declining to send their children to sufficient segment of American public or private school after they had society. 213-215. S. 206 of their children by complying with the carried the difficult burden of law.Y. 406 U.E. Respondents have amply supported their claim that enforcement of the Syllabus compulsory formal education Respondents. 215-219 Wisconsin's compulsory school 3. and the hazards showed that respondents sincerely presented by the State's enforcement believed that high school attendance of a statute generally valid as to was contrary to the Amish religion others.2d 517. it was 1. Beyond this. The evidence also Amish communities. the vital role that education to their children designed to belief and daily conduct play in the prepare them for life in the rural continuing survival of Old Order Amish community. 406 U. they have and way of life.2d 30. and weighing the Fourteenth Amendment. religious upbringing of their children. minimal difference between what the Held: State would require and what the Amish already accept. The State's interest in universal incumbent on the State to show with education is not totally free from a more particularity how its admittedly balancing process when it impinges on strong interest in compulsory other fundamental rights. S. The State Supreme Court demonstrating the adequacy of their sustained respondents' claim that alternative mode of continuing application of the compulsory school informal vocational education in terms attendance law to them violated their of the overall interest that the State rights under the Free Exercise Clause relies on in support of its program of of the First Amendment. Wisconsin v.

On appeal religious instruction or devotional to this Court. New York has additional years of compulsory neither prohibited the "free exercise" education will not impair the physical of religion nor made a law "respecting or mental health of the child. 182 N. affirmed.333 U. 229-234. 100 N. McCollum v. 343 U.E. S. S. The State's claim that it is program involves neither religious empowered. that the system involves the use of affirmed. 100 N. released from public schools who fail to report for religious instruction. Clauson 303 N. coercion to get public school students into religious classrooms. school attendance compulsory. students not released stay in the classrooms. S. 343 U. The 4. 310-315. S. The same section makes 315. Syllabus The New York Court of Appeals Under § 3210 of the New York sustained N. Pp.E. 343 U. to instruction in public schools nor the extend the benefit of secondary expenditure of public funds. 343 U. the schools the names of children 234-236. 303 grounds and go to religious centers for N. objections by forgoing one or two (a) By this system. S. exercises. accommodating their religious distinguished. 161. 203.2d 463.Amish. 161. 311-312.2d 463. responsibilities of citizenship. against the requests of their parents. 406 U. so that they claim that the program thereunder may leave the school buildings and violated the Federal Constitution. S. Education Law § 3210 Education Law and the regulations and the regulations thereunder thereunder. Pp. made of the nature revealed by this record. or result an establishment of religion" within in an inability to be self-supporting or the meaning of the First Amendment. 308-315. New York City permits its permitting absence of students from public schools to release students the public schools for religious during school hours. S. to discharge the duties and Pp. or in any other way materially detract from the welfare of society.Y. (b) There is no evidence in the record in this case to support a conclusion 49 Wis. Pp.Y. and the churches report to .2d 539.Y. Pp. S. convincing evidence that Board of Education. 1952 affirmed.W. p.2d 430. 406 U. 406 U. as parens patriae. on written observance and education. 212-29. Zorach v. education to children regardless of the wishes of their parents cannot be Held: This program does not violate sustained against a free exercise claim the First Amendment. applicable to the States by the for the Amish have introduced Fourteenth Amendment.