Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument in the case of Holt v. Hobbs. The case involves the rights of a prisoner in Arkansas to maintain a beard as required by his faith.
As Robert Barnes writes in the Washington Post today, the case is unifying religious liberty advocates that more often find themselves on opposite sides of an issue.
In this case, conservative legal organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Rutherford Institute are on the same side as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union.
And Holt has the support of the Obama administration. Arkansas officials, according to a brief filed by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., have “failed to explain why they cannot adopt the less restrictive means adopted by nearly every other jurisdiction in the country.”
The Baptist Joint Committee has filed a brief with the court in the case as well, supporting the prisoner’s right to maintain his requested beard. Visit the BJC’s Holt v. Hobbs resource page for more information about the case.
What is different about this case? Why do staunch opponents from the Hobby Lobby case find agreement here? In the article, AU’s Greg Lipper offers the best explanation, arguing it is because Holt’s request here does not impact third parties the way other cases like the legislative prayer and the Hobby Lobby suit did.