Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reynolds v. US case brief

Reynolds v. US
98 U.S. 145

Reynolds lived in Utah and had multiple wives, claiming that his religious beliefs kept him from being guilty of a criminal offense.

Issue:  Can religious belief serve as a justification for an overt criminal act?
Holding:  No.
  • Rule: Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. So those who believe in polygamy as part of their religious belief may not be excepted from the statutes making polygamy a crime.
  • Analysis
    • Does separation of church and state give this man the freedom to be a bigamist? No… government cannot infringe upon a religious belief of someone, but when it comes to acts, the government can interfere… for example: human sacrifice… one can believe that it is right to do it, but the government can punish those who do it.
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