World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Goldman v. Weinberger

Article Id: WHEBN0020518095
Reproduction Date:

Title: Goldman v. Weinberger  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: United States military case law, History of the United States Air Force, Eweida v British Airways plc, Censorship of student media, Dickinson v. United States
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Goldman v. Weinberger

Goldman v. Weinberger
Argued January 14, 1986
Decided March 25, 1986
Full case name S. Simcha Goldman v. Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, et al.
Citations 475 U.S. 503 (more)
106 S. Ct. 1310; 89 L. Ed. 2d 478; 1986 U.S. LEXIS 34; 54 U.S.L.W. 4298; 40 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 543; 39 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P35,947
Holding
The Free Exercise Clause does not protect religious apparel from military uniform regulations.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Rehnquist, joined by Burger, White, Powell, Stevens
Concurrence Stevens, joined by White, Powell
Dissent Brennan, joined by Marshall
Dissent Blackmun
Dissent O'Connor, joined by Marshall
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I

Goldman v. Weinberger, 475 U.S. 503 (1986), was a United States Supreme Court case in which a Jewish Air Force officer was denied the right to wear a yarmulke when in uniform on the grounds that the Free Exercise Clause applies less strictly to the military than to ordinary citizens.

Background

Goldman joined the United States Air Force as an inactive reserve in 1973. He received a Health Professions scholarship to work towards a PhD in Psychology at the Loyola University of Chicago. Subsequently, Goldman entered service at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California as a commissioned officer and clinical psychologist at the on-base mental health clinic. As an Orthodox Jew and rabbi, Goldman's faith required him to wear a yarmulke to show that he is aware that God is a higher power and above him.

For years, Goldman wore his yarmulke without controversy by staying near his station at the clinic and wearing his service cap above the yarmulke while outdoors. In 1981, however, he was required to testify as a defense witness at a court-martial. His testimony discredited the prosecution witness. Subsequently, a government attorney lodged a complaint about Goldman's wear of the yarmulke. Subsequently, his commanding officer at the hospital, Colonel Joseph Gregory, informed him that he was violating Air Force Regulation 35-10, which states that "headgear will not be worn... while indoors except by armed security police in the performance of their duties." The officer then ordered him to not wear the yarmulke while in uniform outside the hospital.

Goldman refused this order, and instead his attorney filed a complaint to the Air Force General Counsel. Gregory then ordered that Goldman cease wearing his yarmulke even when within the hospital. Goldman requested to be allowed to report for duty in civilian clothes until the issue was settled in court, but he was denied this and was threatened with court-martial. It was at this point that Goldman sued the Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger for Free Exercise Clause violations. He was favored at the District Court of Washington, D.C., but that decision was reversed in the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court granted the writ of certiorari.

Supreme Court decision

Because Goldman alleged that this was a Free Exercise violation, he indicated that the defense had to pass the Sherbert test: by demonstrating a "compelling interest" for the violation. He then submitted evidence that there was not a compelling interest for preventing the display of religious apparel, because it presented no danger to military discipline. However, the Court decided against him on a 5-4 decision. The majority opinion, written by Rehnquist, held that this was of no consequence- it contended that the Sherbert test did not apply because the Free Exercise Clause and even the First Amendment in general did not apply to the military in the same way that it did to civilian society. The justification for this was a need to "foster instinctive obedience, unity, commitment, and esprit de corps." The dissenters argued that the decision gave too much deference to the military's judgment and that some judicial scrutiny of military necessity claims should be required.[1]

Congressional response

In the court's ruling it was only decided that the Constitution failed to protect the freedom to wear religious apparel in uniform- it did not outright bar it. This distinction gave Congress the power to enact legislation that would reverse the policy. Allowing "neat and conservative" religious apparel accommodations had been in consideration since 1985, following the cases' ruling in the Court of Appeals.[2] Proposals to do so failed during the case's trial period, but finally succeeded in 1988 through a provision to the annual National Defense Authorization Act. It provides for a general rule that "a member of the armed forces may wear an item of religious apparel while wearing the uniform of the member's armed force." The bill containing the provision was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Goldman v. Weinberger". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Sullivan, Dwight H. (1988), "The Congressional Response to Goldman v. Weinberg". Military Law Review, Volume 121, pp. 125–152.

Further reading

  • Full text opinion from Findlaw.com
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.