Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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Holt v. Hobbs

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: March 3, 2014
Case #: 13-6827
Court Below: 509 Fed.Appx. 561 (2013)
Full Text Opinion: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Holt-8th-Cir.-Opinion.pdf

Constitutional Law: Whether regulation of beard length by the Department of Corrections violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) or the First Amendment.

Petitioner, a fundamentalist Muslim, alleges that Respondent substantially burdened his practice of religion by regulating his beard length. Respondent regulates beard length to insure the safety of inmates and guards. Petitioner filed a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order. Petitioner seeks permission to keep a short beard for religious purposes. 

The lower court granted the motion, but subsequently vacated and dismissed. On appeal, the court affirmed and held that Respondent met the burden of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), the grooming policy was the least restrictive means to further a compelling interest.   

The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether regulation of beard length by the Department of Corrections violates the RLUIPA or the First Amendment.