494 U.S.872 PDF

Title: U.S. Reports: Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon, et al. v. Smith et al., U.S. (). Contributor Names: Scalia. Smith, U.S. (), a landmark in religious freedom jurisprudence. In Religious Freedom and Indian Rights: The Case of Oregon v. Smith, Carolyn N. Oregon Department of Human Resources. Docket no. Decided by. Rehnquist Court. Lower court. Oregon Supreme Court. Citation. US ( ).

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The Free Exercise Clause simply cannot be understood to require the Government to conduct its own internal affairs in ways that comport with the religious beliefs of particular citizens.

But since Justice Douglas voted with the majority in Sherbert, that quote obviously envisioned that what “the government cannot do to the individual” includes not just the prohibition of an individual’s freedom of action through criminal laws, but also the running of its programs in Sherbert, state unemployment compensation in such fashion as to harm the individual’s religious interests. Respondents in the present case, however, seek j.s.872 carry the meaning of “prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]” one large step further.

Moreover, in view of the societal interest in preventing trafficking in controlled substances, uniform application of the criminal prohibition at issue is essential to the effectiveness of Oregon’s stated interest in preventing any possession of peyote.

Also, the availability of peyote for religious use, even if Oregon were to allow an exemption from its criminal laws, would still be strictly controlled by federal regulations, see 21 U. Views Read Edit View history. Under Oregon law, as construed by that State’s highest u.e.872, members of the Native American Church must choose between carrying out the ritual embodying their religious beliefs and avoidance of criminal prosecution.


The cases cited by the Court signal no retreat from our consistent adherence to the compelling interest test. A person who is barred from engaging in religiously motivated conduct is barred from freely exercising his religion.

See also Stewart, Peyote Religion at description of peyote ritual ; [p] T. Moreover, just as in Yoder, the values and interests of those seeking a religious exemption in this case are congruent, to a great degree, with those the State seeks to promote through its drug laws. Its Apparent Safety, Am. Sidotior before the government may regulate the content of speech, see, e. Review Bd of Indiana Security Div. Indeed, it is surely unusual to judge the vitality of a constitutional doctrine by looking to the win-loss record of the plaintiffs who happen to come before us The Free Exercise Clause permits the State to prohibit sacramental peyote use, and thus to deny unemployment benefits to persons discharged for such use.

Such a statute may stand only if the law in general, and the State’s refusal to allow a religious exemption in particular, are justified by a compelling interest that cannot be served by less restrictive means. The Oregon Supreme Court, on remand from this Court, concluded that “the Oregon statute against possession of controlled substances, which include peyote, makes no exception for the sacramental use of peyote. Guarnieri Heffernan v. Bullitt In re Primus Roberts v. As we explained in Thomas: Board of Education McCollum v.

And, when the interests of parenthood are combined with a free exercise claim of the nature revealed by this record, more than merely a ‘reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State’ is required to sustain the validity of the State’s requirement under the First Amendment. We have, in any event, recognized that the Free Exercise Clause protects values distinct from those protected by the Equal Protection Clause.


Employment Div. v. Smith :: U.S. () :: Justia US Supreme Court Center

Florida Carroll v. Quinn Friedrichs v.

New Hampshire Terminiello v. Indeed, it is surely unusual to judge the vitality of a constitutional doctrine by looking to the win-loss record of the plaintiffs who happen to come before us. Our free speech cases similarly recognize that neutral regulations that affect free speech values are subject to a balancing, rather than categorical, approach. As we observed in Smith Ihowever, the conduct at issue in those cases was not prohibited by law. If the First Amendment is to have any vitality, it ought not be 4944 to cover only the extreme and hypothetical situation in which a State directly targets a religious practice.

CIO Schneider v. There was no doubt that the exemption from Oregon’s ban on peyote was not a pretext for Smith and Black. Northwest Indian Cemetary Protective Assn. American Civil Liberties Union Nitke v.

Employment Division v. Smith

Board of Regents Communist Party of Indiana v. The statutory conditions [in Sherbert and Thomas ] provided that a person was not eligible u.s.8872 unemployment compensation benefits if, “without good cause,” he had quit work or refused available work.

Unemployment benefits are not available to individuals who 944 terminated from their jobs because of related misconduct.

It would then be placed in a dilemma, it says, between allowing a patchwork of exemptions that would hinder its law enforcement efforts, and risking a violation of the Establishment Clause by arbitrarily limiting its religious exemptions. The government may not compel affirmation of religious belief, see Torcaso v.