The Seventh-Day Adventist Church
The Warren Court (1962-1964). Seated, from left to right: Justices Tom C. Clark, Hugo L. Black, and Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Justices William O. Douglas and John Marshall Harlan, II. Standing, from left to right: Justices Byron R. White, William J. Brennan, Potter Stewart, and Arthur J. Goldberg.
South Carolina State Capitol
Adeil Sherbert’s employer told her to work on Saturdays. Sherbert, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, declined that assignment because of her religious beliefs. She celebrated the Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday. As a result, Sherbert was fired. South Carolina then denied her unemployment benefits because she was unwilling to work on Saturday. Sherbert’s attorney explained her position to the Court: “She was willing to work and able to work, in any mill or in any other industry, so long as the job was a decent job, and so long as it did not require her to work on her Sabbath.”
The Court ruled for Sherbert by a 7-2 vote. Justice Brennan wrote the majority opinion.