Braunfeld v. Brown Case Brief

Facts of the Case

Appellants were members of the Orthodox Jewish Faith, which required the closing of their places of business and total abstention from all manner of work from nightfall each Friday until nightfall each Saturday. As merchants engaged in the retail sale of clothing and home furnishings in Philadelphia, they sued to enjoin enforcement of a 1959 Pennsylvania criminal statute which forbade the retail sale on Sundays of those commodities and other specified commodities. They claimed that the statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and constituted a law respecting an establishment of religion and that it interfered with the free exercise of their religion by imposing serious economic disadvantages upon them, if they adhere to the observance of their Sabbath, and that it would operate so as to hinder the Orthodox Jewish Faith in gaining new members.


Did Tennessee’s 100-foot limit violate the First Amendment’s freedom of speech?


“In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that the Pennsylvania blue law did not violate the Free Exercise Clause. The freedom to hold religious beliefs and opinions is absolute