Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a 1922 Oregon law that compelled children aged eight to sixteen to attend not just a school, but the public schools. The Oregon compulsory public education law was sponsored by the Ku Klux Klan, Federated Patriotic Societies, the Masons, and smaller groups that appealed to white supremacist, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, and nativist beliefs. Drawing on popular anxieties, the reformers argued that private schools allowed un-American elements to persist, and that compelling attendance to public schools was the only way to assimilate these diverse masses to white American Protestant culture. This method was not unique to Oregon, but had emerged from the ideals of the common school movement of the mid-nineteenth century. The reform movement was able to win in Oregon partly because it gained support from the educational establishment of the state, including the Oregon Teacher’s Monthly and a large proportion of public school teachers. In addition, Governor Walter Pierce had won his office through the support of the Ku Klux Klan, and he actively supported the law.
The bill helped align civil libertarians, Lutherans, Catholics, Adventists, Jews, and African Americans first against passage, and then against the constitutionality of the law. It seems likely that the KKK and their allies pushed the reform in Oregon because they held an overwhelming native white majority in the state, but there were also initiatives in other states awaiting the outcome of the court battle. The operators of two private schools, the Society of the Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary and the Hill Military Academy, filed complaints, gained an injunction against the law from a lower court, and won in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1925. The decision rested on two basic principles of American law. First, the state cannot seize private property, or grant monopolies that will destroy livelihoods, unless it can show that a compelling public interest requires the action. Therefore, the state does not possess the power to put all the private schools out of business. Second, juvenile law must balance the will of the majority and parental authority.
The Court overturned the Oregon law but not on religious freedom grounds, since the First Amendment, including the Free Exercise Clause, was yet not deemed to be applicable to the states. Instead, it overturned the law because it
“unreasonably [interfered] with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children . . . under their control.” It added that “The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”
Now, this sounds good, and it’s certainly better than upholding the Oregon law, but it’s not the same thing as upholding the free exercise of religion. The impact on the free exercise of religion is a byproduct of the protection of some other constitutional right, such as, in this case, the liberty interests of the parents. The result would have been the same if Oregon parents had wanted to send their children to private schools for reasons that had nothing to do with their religion. (In fact, the other parties to the case were non-religious private schools arguing that their property rights were impinged by the Oregon law.)
The conspiratorial elements of the U.S. society that wish to indoctrinate the masses, force them to attend the already captivated public schools, and destroy the christian culture lost this battle thanks to the uniting of religions and a Supreme Court that was able enough to see the unconstitutionality of compelled education in government-run schools. No problem for the new world order conspirators though, they’ll just use the new case law to establish their own private schools that can assist in the war on Christianity and the constitution – like the Gulen Schools. The case has been cited as a precedent in more than 100 Supreme Court cases, including Roe v. Wade, and in more than 70 cases in the courts of appeals.