Prince v. Massachusetts 321 U.S. 158 (1944)

views updated

PRINCE v. MASSACHUSETTS 321 U.S. 158 (1944)

Massachusetts law provided that no boy under twelve or girl under eighteen could engage in street sale of any merchandise. Prince was the guardian of a nine-year-old girl. Both were Jehovah's Witnesses and sold Witness literature. The question was whether the statute impermissibly infringed on the free exercise of religion.

Writing for the Court, Justice wiley b. rutledge balanced the broad powers of the state to protect the health and welfare of minors against the first amendment claims and held that the state's power prevailed. Justices frank murphy and robert h. jackson dissented.

Prince follows the "secular regulation" approach to religious liberty introduced by united states v. reynolds (1879).

Richard E. Morgan

About this article

Prince v. Massachusetts 321 U.S. 158 (1944)

Updated About content Print Article