Smith, Ballard, and the Religious Inquiry Exception to the Criminal Law
Marshall, William P.
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Addresses the relationship between Smith and Ballard. Shows one of the foundational bases of the Smith opinion was the Court's desire to avoid the kind of inquiry into the validity of religious belief with which Ballard was so concerned. Part II of this Article provides the necessary background by canvassing the Court's free exercise jurisprudence. Part III then revisits one of the Court's pre-Smith decisions, Thomas v. Review Board. After discussing the Thomas opinion, the section argues that the facts of the case were such that it set the stage for both the Smith decision and also for the continued vitality of Ballard. Part IV focuses on Ballard and the reasons that support the no-inquiry principle. Part V then discusses whether Smith and Ballard are reconcilable.