Minersville School District v. Gobitis

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

Facts

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.

Holding

A mandatory flag salute is constitutional.

Comments

West Virginia v. Barnette (1943) overturns Gobitis.