Supreme Court Rulings: What is Written And Forgotten And What We Are Told
The public is often told by "Journalists" what a SCOTUS decision is and means. There are many nuances and gems hidden in those decisions that never make it into the public's awareness. This landmark ruling is an example.
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) - The Pledge of Allegiance Case
Excerpts from the Opinion by Justice Robert H. Jackson
"Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard."
"It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority."
"But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order."
"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us."
#supremecourtopinion, #1stamendment, #1a