Minersville School District v. Gobitis

PETITIONER: Minersville School District
RESPONDENT: Walter Gobitis et al.
LOCATION: Minersville School District

DECIDED BY: Hughes Court (1940-1941)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

ARGUED: Apr 25, 1940
DECIDED: Jun 03, 1940

George K. Gardner - for the respondents
Joseph W. Henderson - for the petitioners
Joseph F. Rutherford - for the respondents

Facts of the case

Lillian and William Gobitas were discharged from the school in Pennsylvania for their disagree to congratulate the state flag as a part of a daily lesson`s practice. The Gobitas pupils profess the Jehovah`s Witnesses belief under which such action was prohibited accordingly to the Biblical prescriptions. Moreover, the main part of the population in the state was of Catholics, who were hostile to representatives of this other religious belief. Thus, after the accident, the children of Gobitas suffered from teasing and attacking from other pupils. After that, the school council decided to exclude Lillian and William.

The plaintiffs filed a claim that such enforcement to this symbol salutation violated their rights upheld by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The judgment was proved that such resolution was the breach of the freedom of religion.

Notwithstanding, the school representative brought suit before the Supreme Court arguing on the legibility on their decision. They claimed that such salutation of the flag is the expression of the respecting to state and maintaining of the national idea.

The case study explained that the Court upheld shared this point of view and concluded that flag congratulation should be obligatory as an education of the respect to the symbol of national unity in children.

However, to sum up, this case brief it needs to say that this judgment was overturned in 1943 when the court changed this decision in the West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette. Moreover, few judges changed their opinions on that such enforcement of children to congratulate the flag was unconstitutional.


Did the mandatory flag salute infringe upon liberties protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments?