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Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone
Employment Division, Department of Human Resources v. Smith
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
The Respondent was a member of the Native American Church, which has as a part of is religious rituals, the supervised consumption of peyote. Peyote is a controlled substance under Oregon law and possession of peyote is a criminal offense. The Respondent was fired from his job at a private drug rehabilitation clinic because he ingested peyote as part of his church’s ritual. The Respondent sought unemployment benefits, which where denied as he had been dismissed for work related misconduct. On his appeal from denial of unemployment benefits, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that as the state law did not contain an exemption from its criminal statute for religious consumption of peyote, that the criminal ban was unconstitutional as applied to peyote in this setting and that the Respondent was entitled to unemployment compensation. The Petitioner appeals the case.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.