Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia

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Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia  (1957) 
by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Syllabus
a case of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Washington Ethical Society functions much like a church, but regards itself as a non-theistic religious institution, honoring the importance of ethical living without mandating a belief in a supernatural origin for ethics. The case involved denial of the Society's application for tax exemption as a religious organization. The D.C. Circuit court reversed the Tax Court's ruling, defined the Society as a religious organization, and granted its tax exemption.
    
Court Documents
Opinion of the Court

249 F.2d 127

WASHINGTON ETHICAL SOCIETY, a corporation, Petitioner

v.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Respondent

No. 13646

United States Court of Appeals,
District of Columbia Circuit.


Argued May 29, 1957

Decided Oct. 17, 1957


Mr. John Lord O'Brian, Washington, D.C., with whom Messrs. Charles A. Horsky, Bernard I. Nordlinger and Yale Kamisar, Washington, D.C., were on the brief, for petitioner.

Mr. Henry E. Wixon, Asst. Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia, with whom Messrs. Chester H. Gray, Corporation Counsel, Milton D. Korman, Principal Asst. Corporation Counsel, and George F. Donnella, Asst. Corporation Counsel, were on the brief, for respondent.

Mr. Edward P. Morgan, Washington, D.C., filed a brief on behalf of The American Unitarian Association, as amicus curiae, urging reversal. Messrs. Vincent A. Pepper and Fred J. Eden, Jr., Washington, D.C., also entered appearances on behalf of The American Unitarian Association.

Mr. Monroe Oppenheimer, Washington, D.C., filed a brief on behalf of The American Ethical Union, as amicus curiae, urging reversal.

Mr. Abraham J. Harris, Washington, D.C., filed a brief on behalf of American Jewish Committee, as amicus curiae, urging reversal.

Before PRETTYMAN, FAHY and BURGER, Circuit Judges.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).