The Corner

Not the First Time for Nuns in the Supreme Court

Not that I disagree with any substantive point Peter Kirsanow makes in his Corner post yesterday afternoon — which is well worth reading — but he is wrong about the minor factual claim that the Little Sisters’ case is “the first time that Catholic nuns will have a case heard before the Supreme Court.” In 1925, the Supreme Court heard the case of Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, who brought suit to stop the implementation of an Oregon statute compelling all parents in the state to send their children to public schools, effectively closing all private, including religious, primary and secondary schools in the state. (The Society of Sisters was joined by the secular Hill Military Academy.) They won their case with a unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court.

Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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