Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments In Prison Beard Case; Full Transcript Available

The U.S. Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in Holt v. Hobbs, a case in which a Muslim inmate seeks for religious reasons to grow a one-half inch beard, in violation of Arkansas prison grooming rules. The prisoner asserts that RLUIPA affords him that right.  The transcript of the full oral argument is available from the Supreme Court's website. SCOTUSblog also has a lengthy report on the oral argument, saying:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sent a blunt message to prison officials planning a policy that limits the religious freedom of inmates:  it would be important to have a good reason for the restriction before it gets into court.  Trying to bolster the rationale at the lectern is not a promising strategy.
A lawyer for Arkansas prison officials found that out in two quick exchanges with Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., that came close to collapsing his case.