West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protects students from being forced to salute the American flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance in public school. The court's 6–3 decision, delivered by Justice Robert H. Jackson, is remembered for its forceful defense of free speech and constitutional rights generally as being placed "beyond the reach of majorities and officials".Barnette overruled a 1940 decision on the same issue, Minersville School District v. Gobitis, in which the court had stated that the proper recourse for dissent was to try to change the public school policy democratically. This overruling was a significant court victory won by Jehovah's Witnesses, whose religion forbade them from saluting or pledging to symbols, including symbols of political institutions. The court did not address the effect the compelled salutation and
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