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Encyclopedia > Supreme Court cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses

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Supreme Court cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses

In the USA there were numerous Supreme Court cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses, many of them landmark cases of First Amendment law. In all, the Jehovah's Witnesses brought 23 separate First Amendment actions before the U.S. Supreme Court between 1938 and 1946.

The most important Supreme Court legal victory won by the Witnesses was in the case West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette, in which the court ruled that school children could not be forced to pledge allegiance or salute the U.S. flag. The Barnette decision overturned an earlier case, Minersville School District vs. Gobitis (1940), in which the court had held that Witnesses could be forced against their will to pay homage to the flag.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Harlan Fiske Stone[?] wrote, "The Jehovah's Witnesses ought to have an endowment in view of the aid which they give in solving the legal problems of civil liberties."



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