The Stone Court (1941–46)

First Amendment

Which justices changed their votes in the two flag-salute cases?

Justices Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, and Frank Murphy changed their votes from Gobitis to Barnette. The three had voted to uphold the flag salute in Gobitis but voted to strike down such a law in Barnette. The three justices had signaled their displeasure with Gobitis in a dissenting opinion in another Jehovah’s Witness case, Jones v. Opelika (1942). The three justices wrote: “Since we joined in the opinion in the Gobitis case, we think this is an appropriate occasion to state that we now believe that it was also wrongly decided.”


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