West Virginia State Board of Education et. al. v. Barnette et al...?

Why is the year in which this case was decided significant in discussing it's importance?

And can anyone find a site with the actual FULL TEXT?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that held that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protected students from being forced to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school.

    It was a significant court victory won by Jehovah's Witnesses, whose religion forbade them from saluting or pledging to political institutions or symbols. However, the Court did not address the effect the compelled salutation and recital ruling had upon their particular religious beliefs, but instead ruled that the state did not have the power to compel speech in that manner for anyone.

    Barnette overruled a 1940 decision on the same issue, Minersville School District v. Gobitis (also involving the children of Jehovah's Witnesses), in which the Court stated that the proper recourse for dissent was to try and change the school policy democratically. In Barnette Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote for the majority and his opinion is considered one of the great statements of freedom in American history.[original research?]

    However, in overruling Gobitis the Court primarily relied on the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment rather than the Religion Clause.

    Here is the entire case http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?c...

  • 1 decade ago


    Perhaps because our nation was at war personifies the importance of the ruling. It's tragic that the American Legion opened the door for the appeal.

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