MINERSVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT v. GOBITIS

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
690
Petitioner 
Minersville School District
Respondent 
Gobitis
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Lillian and William Gobitis were expelled from the public schools of Minersville, Pennsylvania, for refusing to salute the flag as part of a daily school exercise. The Gobitis children were Jehovah's Witnesses; they believed that such a gesture of respect for the flag was forbidden by Biblical commands.

Question 

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

Conclusion 

No. In an 8-to-1 decision, the Court declined to make itself "the school board for the country" and upheld the mandatory flag salute. The Court held that the state's interest in "national cohesion" was "inferior to none in the hierarchy of legal values" and that national unity was "the basis of national security." The flag, the Court found, was an important symbol of national unity and could be a part of legislative initiatives designed "to promote in the minds of children who attend the common schools an attachment to the institutions of their country."

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MINERSVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT v. GOBITIS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 14 December 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1939/1939_690/>.
MINERSVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT v. GOBITIS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1939/1939_690/ (last visited December 14, 2014).
"MINERSVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT v. GOBITIS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed December 14, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1901-1939/1939/1939_690/.