The Free Exercise Clause in Specific Contexts - Module 3 of 5
A law infringing on religious liberty will be invalidated if it:
An individual who is in the last stages of terminal brain cancer refuses all medical care and requests that the attending physician provide him with an excessive dose of morphine to hasten death so that he can “meet God.” The patient’s request:
A zoning law prohibits all residents of a town from erecting religious symbols on the portion of their property facing the street that “are larger than six feet in height, as these structures in may distract passing motorists.” One resident claims that the law violates the Free Exercise Clause, and argues that her religion requires her to erect a large, twenty-foot sculpture of a prominent religious figure for four days in February of each year. What is the likely outcome?
When considering whether a law violates the Free Exercise Clause, courts focus primarily on which of the following?
A government employer adopts a policy prohibiting employees from drinking alcohol during business hours. An employee objects, stating that his religion requires him to consume four alcohol beverages at noon on the first Friday of every month. The employee subsequently violates the policy and is fired. If the employee sues the employer, what is the likely result?
The legislative body of a large city passes a law requiring all children above the age of five to be vaccinated for the bird flu, and the city justifies the law by arguing that the bird flu may, in some cases, cause death. The parents of a six-year old child object, claiming that the law violates their religious beliefs, which forbid medical intervention from civil authorities, How would a court likely rule?
The Board of Education in a small town adopts a policy requiring all publicly-educated students to acknowledge the existence of God and Jesus Christ before the start of classes each day. One student’s parents, who are members of the Buddhist faith, object to the policy on the ground that it violates their right to religious freedom. How would a court likely rule?
Employment Division v. Smith, the United States Supreme Court held that:
After visiting her physician for a routine medical examination, a sixteen-year-old woman discovers that she has colon cancer. Because the cancer has not metastasized, the physician suggests that having surgery immediately will likely eliminate the cancer. The woman’s parents object to the surgery, claiming that it violates their religious beliefs, which require prayer in times of serious illness. How would a court likely rule?
A prison facility requires all inmates to wear clothing that contains no pockets. The purpose of the policy is to prevent inmates from concealing contraband. An inmate objects, claiming that twice per week, his religion requires him to wear a specific outfit that, incidentally, has pockets. How would a court likely rule?