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Employment Division, Department of Human Resources v. Smith
Citation:494 U.S. 872 (1990)
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- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
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Smith and Black were fired by a private drug rehabilitation organization because they used peyote, a hallucinogen, at a ceremony of the Native American Church. Their applications for unemployment compensation were denied under a state law disqualifying employees discharged for work-related misconduct. When the case was first brought before the Supreme Court, the Court remanded for a determination of whether sacramental peyote use violates Oregon’s criminal law. On remand, the Oregon court held that the criminal statute did apply to their conduct.
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