Minersville School District v. Gobitis

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Minersville School District v. Gobitis
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided June 3, 1940
Appealed from 3rd Circuit
Overturned by
West Virginia v. Barnette


Walter Gobitis was a Jehovah's Witness with two school children in the 1930s.

Minersville Area School District was a largely Roman Catholic town in Pennsylvania in the 1930s.

The school superintendent expels the 2 Gobitis school children for failing to salute the American flag.

Procedural History

A legal counsel from the Jehovah's Witnesses group filed a lawsuit in federal district court on behalf of the Gobitis family. Gobitis contended that his free excercise clause and freedom from cruel & unusual punishment (under the 8th Amendment) had been violated.

Albert Maris (1893 – 1989) was the trial judge.

Both the trial court and the 3rd Circuit rule in favor of Gobitis.


A mandatory flag salute is constitutional.


West Virginia v. Barnette (1943) overturns Gobitis.