Minnesota's Supreme Court is taking another look at its ruling that a state law requiring Amish buggies to display slow-moving vehicle emblems violates religious freedom.
Last April, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the state court's unanimous August 1989 decision exempting the Amish from having to use the bright orange triangle, which they consider an odious "worldly" intrusion into their way of life. It sent the case back to Minnesota for review after a decision prohibiting Native Americans in Oregon from using peyote in religious rituals.
At the Sept. 12 rehearing in St. Paul, attorney Philip Villaume, representing the 14 Amish plaintiffs, argued that the Amish case differs from the peyote case because it involves not only religious freedom but also other constitutionally protected freedoms.
Joseph Daly, a Hamline University Law School professor and co-counsel, argued that the Minnesota Constitution offers broader religious freedoms than the U.S. Constitution and that the court should rule in favor of the Amish simply by applying the state constitution.
Arguing for the state, Fillmore County Attorney Robert Benson insisted that the Oregon decision applies in the case. He said the federal decision concluded that a law is enforceable if it applies to all citizens. He said the Minnesota law "is totally secular, and under the U.S. Constitution, no other test is required."