Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Same v. Hill Military Academy, Nos. 583

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMcREYNOLDS
Citation268 U.S. 510,69 L.Ed. 1070,45 S.Ct. 571,39 A. L. R. 468
PartiesPIERCE, Governor of Oregon, et al. v. SOCIETY OF THE SISTERS OF THE HOLY NAMES OF JESUS AND MARY. SAME v. HILL MILITARY ACADEMY
Docket Number584,Nos. 583
Decision Date01 June 1925

268 U.S. 510
45 S.Ct. 571
69 L.Ed. 1070
PIERCE, Governor of Oregon, et al.

v.

SOCIETY OF THE SISTERS OF THE HOLY NAMES OF JESUS AND MARY. SAME v. HILL MILITARY ACADEMY.

Nos. 583, 584.
Argued March 16 and 17, 1925.
Decided June 1, 1925.

Page 511

Mr. Willis S. Moore, of Salem, Or., for other appellants.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 511-512 intentionally omitted]

Page 513

Messrs. Wm. D. Guthrie, of New York City for appellee.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 513-521 intentionally omitted]

Page 521

Mr. J. P. Kavanaugh, of Portland, Or., for appellee Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

Messrs. George E. Chamberlain, of Portland, Or., and Albert H. Putney, of Washington, D. C., for appellant Pierce.

Mr. John C. Veatch, of Portland, Or., for appellee Hill Military Academy.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 521-529 intentionally omitted]

Page 529

Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

These appeals are from decrees, based upon undenied allegations, which granted preliminary orders restraining

Page 530

appellants from threatening or attempting to enforce the Compulsory Education Act1 adopted November 7, 1922 (Laws Or. 1923, p. 9), under the initiative provision of her Constitution by the voters of Oregon. Judicial Code, § 266 (Comp. St. § 1243). They present the same points of law; there are no controverted questions of fact. Rights said to be guaranteed by the federal Constitution were specially set up, and appropriate prayers asked for their protection.

The challenged act, effective September 1, 1926, requires every parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge or custody of a child between 8 and 16 years to send him 'to a public school for the period of time a public school shall be held during the current year' in the district where the child resides; and failure so to do is declared a misdemeanor. There are

Page 531

exemptions—not specially important here—for children who are not normal, or who have completed the eighth grade, or whose parents or private teachers reside at considerable distances from any public school, or who hold special permits from the county superintendent. The manifest purpose is to compel general attendance at public schools by normal children, between 8 and 16, who have not completed the eight grade. And without doubt enforcement of the statute would seriously impair, perhaps destroy, the profitable features of appellees' business and greatly diminish the value of their property.

Appellee the Society of Sisters is an Oregon corporation, organized in 1880, with power to care for orphans, educate and instruct the youth, establish and maintain academies or schools, and acquire necessary real and personal

Page 532

property. It has long devoted its property and effort to the secular and religious education and care of children, and has acquired the valuable good will of many parents and guardians. It conducts interdependent primary and high schools and junior colleges, and maintains orphanages for the custody and control of children between 8 and 16. In its primary schools many children between those ages are taught the subjects usually pursued in Oregon public schools during the first eight years. Systematic religious instruction and moral training according to the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church are also regularly provided. All courses of study, both temporal and religious, contemplate continuity of training under appellee's charge; the primary schools are essential to the system and the most profitable. It owns valuable buildings, especially constructed and equipped for school purposes. The business is remunerative—the annual income from primary schools exceeds $30,000—and the successful conduct of this requires long time contracts with teachers and parents. The Compulsory Education Act of 1922 has already caused the withdrawal from its schools of children who would otherwise continue, and their income has steadily declined. The appellants, public officers, have proclaimed their purpose strictly to enforce the statute.

After setting out the above facts, the Society's bill alleges that the enactment conflicts with the right of parents to choose schools where their children will receive appropriate mental and religious training, the right of the child to influence the parents' choice of a school, the right of schools and teachers therein to engage in a useful business or profession, and is accordingly repugnant to the Constitution and void. And, further, that unless enforcement of lthe measure is enjoined the corporation's business and property will suffer irreparable injury.

Appellee Hill Military Academy is a private corporation organized in 1908 under the laws of Oregon, engaged

Page 533

in owning, operating, and conducting for profit an elementary, college preparatory, and military training school for boys between the ages of 5 and 21 years. The average attendance is 100, and the annual fees received for each student amount to some $800. The elementary department is divided into eight grades, as in the public schools; the college preparatory department has four grades, similar to those of the public high schools; the courses of study conform to the requirements of the state board of education. Military instruction and training are also given, under the supervision of an army officer. It owns considerable real and personal property, some useful only for school purposes. The business and incident good will are very valuable. In order to conduct its affairs, long time contracts must be made for supplies, equipment, teachers, and pupils. Appellants, law officers of the state and county, have publicly announced that the Act of November 7, 1922, is valid and have declared their intention to enforce it. By reason of the statute and threat of enforcement appellee's business is being destroyed and its property depreciated; parents and guardians are refusing to make...

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2056 practice notes
  • Barrows v. Jackson, No. 517
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 15, 1953
    ...in the past, broad constitutional policy has led the Court to proceed without regard to its usual rule. In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070, a state statute required all parents (with certain immaterial exceptions) to send their children to public scho......
  • Doe v. Heck, No. 01-3648.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 16, 2003
    ...of the natural relationship") (emphasis added); Brokaw, 235 F.3d at 1018 (same). Finally, we note that in Pierce v. Soc'y of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070 (1925), the Supreme Court held that private schools have the right to bring claims against the state for arbitraril......
  • Fulton v. City of Phila., No. 19-123
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 17, 2021
    ...because it implicated both the Amish parents' free-exercise claim and a parental-rights claim stemming from Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510 (1925). See Smith, 494 U. S., at 881. And in such hybrid cases, Smith held, the Sherbert test survived. See 494 U. S., at 881-882. It is ha......
  • BJRL v. State of Utah, Civ. No. C86-324G.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • January 28, 1987
    ...14 L.Ed.2d 510 (1965) (statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35, 45 S.Ct. 571, 573, 69 L.Ed. 1070 (1925) (statute requiring parents to send children to public schools exclusively is an unreasonable in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2060 cases
  • Barrows v. Jackson, No. 517
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 15, 1953
    ...in the past, broad constitutional policy has led the Court to proceed without regard to its usual rule. In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070, a state statute required all parents (with certain immaterial exceptions) to send their children to public scho......
  • Doe v. Heck, No. 01-3648.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 16, 2003
    ...of the natural relationship") (emphasis added); Brokaw, 235 F.3d at 1018 (same). Finally, we note that in Pierce v. Soc'y of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070 (1925), the Supreme Court held that private schools have the right to bring claims against the state for arbitraril......
  • Fulton v. City of Phila., No. 19-123
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 17, 2021
    ...because it implicated both the Amish parents' free-exercise claim and a parental-rights claim stemming from Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510 (1925). See Smith, 494 U. S., at 881. And in such hybrid cases, Smith held, the Sherbert test survived. See 494 U. S., at 881-882. It is ha......
  • BJRL v. State of Utah, Civ. No. C86-324G.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • January 28, 1987
    ...14 L.Ed.2d 510 (1965) (statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35, 45 S.Ct. 571, 573, 69 L.Ed. 1070 (1925) (statute requiring parents to send children to public schools exclusively is an unreasonable in......
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18 books & journal articles
  • A REIGN OF ERROR: PROPERTY RIGHTS AND STARE DECISIS.
    • United States
    • Washington University Law Review Vol. 99 Nbr. 2, October 2021
    • October 1, 2021
    ...Co., 270 U.S. 402, 412, 415 (1926) (invalidating state statute prohibiting use of "shoddy" in bedcovers); Pierce v. Soc'y of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35 (1925) (enjoining enforcement of state statute requiring public school attendance); Norfolk & W. Ry. Co. v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 265 U......
  • The 'Euclidean' Strategy: Authorizing and Implementing the Legislative Districting of Permissible Land Uses
    • United States
    • Land use planning and the environment: a casebook
    • January 23, 2010
    ...Under these circumstances, the equitable jurisdiction is clear. See Terrace v. Thompson, 263 U.S. 197, 215; Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535. It is not necessary to set forth the provisions of the Ohio Constitution which are thought to be infringed. The question is the same u......
  • Nonmarital Unions, Family Definitions, and Custody Decision Making
    • United States
    • Family Relations Nbr. 60-5, December 2011
    • December 1, 2011
    ...T. (2010). Legal recognitionof same-sex relationships. Georgetown Journal ofGender and the Law,11, 1 – 57.Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246 (1978).Raley, R. K., & Wildsmith, E. (2004). Cohabitationand children’s family instability. Journal o......
  • Prison Inmates’ Right to Hunger Strike
    • United States
    • Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 39-2, June 2014
    • June 1, 2014
    ...App. 2004).People ex rel. Illinois Department of Corrections v. Millard, 782 N.E.2d 966 (Ill. App. 2003).Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377 (1992).Riggins v.......
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