Fraternal Order of Police v. City of Newark

170 F.3d 359 (1999)

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Fraternal Order of Police v. City of Newark

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
170 F.3d 359 (1999)

  • Written by Elizabeth Yingling, JD

Facts

The Fraternal Order of Police (plaintiff), on behalf of two of its Sunni Muslim police officers, sued the City of Newark (defendant), claiming that Newark’s policy prohibiting officers from wearing beards violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The policy provided exemptions for medical reasons and for officers working undercover but did not provide any religious exemptions. Newark claimed that the policy was necessary for officer morale and in order to have a uniformity in appearance such that the general public could easily identify police officers. Newark also claimed that the Americans with Disabilities Act required that the policy include a medical exemption. An imam submitted an affidavit explaining the religious requirement for men to wear beards, stating that shaving a beard, even if required by an employer, would subject a Sunni Muslim to penalties from Allah. The district court held that the policy violated the Free Exercise Clause, and the City of Newark appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

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