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Holt v. Hobbs

United States Supreme Court
135 S. Ct. 853 (2015)


Gregory Holt (plaintiff) was a Muslim and a prisoner in an Arkansas Department of Correction (defendant) prison. The Department prohibited prisoners from growing beards, with the exception of prisoners with dermatological conditions, who the Department permitted to grow one-quarter-inch beards. The Department did permit prisoners to grow hair of reasonable length on their heads. Holt, believing that growing a beard was a requirement of his religion, requested a religious exemption from the no-beard policy. To compromise, Holt requested growing only a one-half-inch beard. The Department denied the request. Holt brought suit, alleging that the denial violated his rights under the Free Exercise Clause. The Department argued that its no-beard policy prevented prisoners from hiding contraband and from disguising their identities. The district court found in favor of the Department, and the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

Concurrence (Ginsburg, J.)

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