1 minute read

Sherbert v. Verner

Legal Context, High Court Reverses, Dissenting Opinion, Sherbert Test

Appellant

Adeil Sherbert

Appellees

Verner, et al.

Appellant's Claim

That South Carolina's denial of unemployment benefits to a Seventh Day Adventist who refused to work on Saturdays constituted a violation of her constitutional right to freely exercise her religion.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Daniel R. McLeod

Chief Lawyer for Appellees

William D. Donnelly

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr. (writing for the Court), Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas, Arthur Goldberg, Potter Stewart, Earl Warren

Justices Dissenting

John Marshall Harlan II, Byron R. White

Place

Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

17 June 1963

Decision

South Carolina's denial of unemployment benefits to Adeil Sherbert, a Seventh Day Adventist, was held to be a violation of her constitutional free exercise rights under the First Amendment.

Significance

The Supreme Court's decision in Sherbert v. Verner substantially broadened its protection of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Impact

The Supreme Court's decision in Sherbert v. Verner signaled a shift in the Court's attitude toward expanded protection for the free exercise of religion. In subsequent cases like Thomas v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division (1981), the Court further restricted a state's ability to deny benefits to religious observers.

Related Cases

  • Solomon v. South Carolina, 382 U.S. 204 (1965).
  • Russell v. Catherwood, 399 U.S. 936 (1970).
  • Roach v. United States, 406 U.S. 935 (1972).
  • Thomas v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division, 450 U.S. 707 (1981).

Sources

Eastland, Terry. Religious Liberty in the Supreme Court. Washington, DC: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1993.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Chandler, Ralph C. The Constitutional Law Dictionary. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, Inc., 1987.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972