1 minute read

Goldman v. Weinberger

Significance, The Government's Interest In Defense, A Passionate Dissent, Impact


S. Simcha Goldman


Caspar W. Weinberger, U.S. Secretary of Defense, et al.

Petitioner's Claim

That the U.S. Air Force regulations on uniform dress preventing petitioner from wearing a yarmulke while on duty violate his First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, and that the Supreme Court reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals prior ruling that strict enforcement of Air Force regulations is permissible.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Nathan Lewis

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Kathryn A. Oberly

Justices for the Court

Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

25 March 1986


Upheld the lower court's ruling that the First Amendment does not require the U.S. Air Force to allow an Orthodox Jew to wear a yarmulke, which violates uniform regulations, while on duty.

Related Cases

  • Goldman v. Secretary of Defense, 530 F.Supp. 12 (1981).
  • Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993).

Further Readings

  • Evans, Bette Novit. Interpreting the Free Exercise of Religion: The Constitution and American Pluralism. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.
  • Rotunda & Nowak, Treatise on Constitutional Law: Substance and Procedure, 2nd ed. Vol. 4-13, Chapter 21.
  • Silverglate, Harvey A. "Paying the Piper Who Protects Our Freedoms." The National Law Journal, April 29, 1996, p. A17.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988