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5 Cards in this Set

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Reynolds v. US (1879)
Reynolds was convicted of polygamy. His lawyers argued that this was an infringement on his religious freedom given by the 1st Amendment. CJ Waite delivered the opinion. The court said that here is a difference between believing and acting. Reynolds can believe in whatever-polygamy- if he likes and its okay but when he puts his beliefs into action, he is crossing the law.
Holy Trinity Church v. US (1892)
Background-an Act was passed in Feb. 1885 which made it illegal to employ workers from out of the country. Holy Trinity Church hired a priest from England for their church. So they broke the act by hiring someone from out of the country. Justice Brewer wrote the opinion basically giving an exemption to the church from this law; it was ok for the church to hire the priest. In his opinion he sited that US is a Christian nation and use historical examples(Puritans in Mass, etc.).
Meyer v. State (1922)
During this time, there was a lot of anti-German vibe in the US because of WWI. Nebraska made it illegal to teach German in schools. Robert T. Meyer, a Lutheran layman taught at the Zion Parochial School. He read in German from a book of German-language Bible stories to a 10 year old child, Raymond Parpart. This seach of the school was an unannounced and warrantless inspection. Meyer was tried and convicted for violating the Nebraska Statute. The Nebraska SC, per Jusctice Flansburg affirmed. He said that the "enactment of such a statute comes reasonably within the police power of the state." Teaching German to tendered/young kids is considered not harmonious to the public welfare and it is ok for these acts to be "curbed." SC struck down the Nebraska law saying 1) it violated the liberty of the parents to determine the educational destiny of their kids amd 2) more importantly, it violated the right to have a contract, in this case, to teach German. NOTE: SC never mentioned and sidestepped religious reasons to justify their actions. Meyer v state said Meyer was convicted but a year later in Meyer v nebraska overturned the ruling on above grounds.
Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925)
In Oregan, kids 8-16 years old were required by law to attend PUBLIC schools. This law but private schools out of business, specially one run by the Society of Sisters. SC struck down the Oregan law on the same grounds as the Meyer case; the violation of parents liberty and the right to contract. NOTE: Again, the court sidestepped all religious reasons to justify the ruling.
Cochran v. Board of Education (1930)
Louisiana in 1928 supplied free school books to all school children in the state. This included public as well as PRIVATE schools. The lawyers did not use the establishment clause to argue their case, why? Because the SC had historically [for the most part] ignored the establishment clase, let alone strike down a law. Instead, the lawyers argued that the state was using public dollars NOT for a public, but rather a private cause. Justice Hughes delivered the opinion saying the children are benefiting from the law, therefore it is valid. It intends to help kids not private institutions. NOTE: there is influence from the Great Depression; turning down free books during national financial turmoil would come across as inconsiderate.