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U.S. Supreme Court

Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Super Market, 366 U.S. 617 (1961)

Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Super Market of Massachusetts, Inc.

No. 11

Argued December 7-8, 1960

Decided May 29, 1961

366 U.S. 617


Appellees are members of the Orthodox Jewish Faith, whose religion forbids them to shop on their Sabbath (from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday) and requires them to eat kosher food; a group of orthodox rabbis and a corporation selling kosher food mainly to such customers. They sued in a Federal District Court to enjoin as unconstitutional enforcement of certain sections of the Massachusetts Sunday Closing Laws which had been construed as forbidding the corporation to keep its store open on Sundays (except for the sale of kosher meat until 10 a.m.), though it had formerly been open for business all day on Sundays and had done about a third of its weekly business then. It had been closed from sundown on Fridays until sundown on Saturdays, and it claimed that it was economically impractical for it to keep open on Saturday nights and until 10 a. m. on Sundays. The laws in question generally forbid the keeping open of shops and the doing of any labor, business or work on Sundays; but they are subject to a great many detailed exceptions of many different kinds, which are summarized in the opinion.

Held: the statutes here involved do not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and they are not laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, within the meaning of the First Amendment, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 366 U. S. 618-631.

176 F. Supp. 466, reversed.

Page 366 U. S. 618

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