Bowen v. Roy: Supreme Court Rules on Religious Objection to Social Security Numbers

Bowen v. Roy: Supreme Court Rules on Religious Objection to Social Security Numbers

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Argued: Bowen v. Roy — In an 8-1 Decision, the Supreme Court rules that the government is permitted to require beneficiaries to supply it with their Social Security numbers, even if their religion forbids it.

Chief Justice Warren Burger writes in the majority opinion:

"Never to our knowledge has the Court interpreted the First Amendment to require the Government itself to behave in ways that the individual believes will further his or her spiritual development or that of his or her family.

The Free Exercise Clause simply cannot be understood to require the Government to conduct its own internal affairs in ways that comport with the religious beliefs of particular citizens."

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