Monday, September 8, 2014

Lillian Gobitas Klose, RIP

See the NYT obit. A taste:
Lillian Gobitas Klose, whose refusal, on religious grounds, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance as a seventh grader in a Pennsylvania public school in 1935 ignited national indignation, as well as a roiling legal fight that led to an expansion of First Amendment rights, died on Aug. 22 at her home in Fayetteville, Ga. She was 90.
Her daughter, Judith Klose, confirmed the death.
Lillian Gobitas’s family belonged to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and heeded a leader’s call to refuse to recite the pledge in compliance with biblical commands against idolatry....


Tom Van Dyke said...

As a big religious freedom fan, I'm in awe of the JWs' stands all over the world.'s_Witnesses_by_country

They're a great test case, because their tactics and beliefs are rather empathy-proof.

In the United States, numerous cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses are now landmark decisions of First Amendment law. In all, Jehovah's Witnesses brought 23 separate First Amendment actions before the U.S. Supreme Court between 1938 and 1946. Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone once quipped, "I think the Jehovah's Witnesses ought to have an endowment in view of the aid which they give in solving the legal problems of civil liberties."

Tom Van Dyke said...

In the late add to Volokh's post, our pal, the brilliant Seth Tillman weighs in:

UPDATE: The Fourteenth Amendment, as Prof. Seth Barrett Tillman reminded me, mentions only an oath and not an affirmation, in saying, “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

That’s not an oath requirement, but a special penalty on those who have betrayed their oath; still, I expect that this would have been understood as likewise applying to those who affirmed their loyalty to the United States, and then rebelled against it.