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Serbian Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich (docket #: 75-292) (1976)  [Findlaw]

Argument Date 03/22/1976
Decided 6/21/1976
Supreme Court Vote 5-2-2
Supreme Court Ruling First Amendment claim upheld; the state cannot interfere in internal church disputes.
IssueWhether the Illinois Supreme Court, in determining that the Serbian Orthodox Church's removal of a bishop was "arbitrary," exercised improper judicial interference with decisions of the highest authorities of a hierarchical church in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Majority Opinion Brennan, J.
Concurring Opinion White, J., & Burger, C.J. (concurring in judgment)
Dissenting Opinion Rehnquist, J. (joined by Stevens, J.)
Lower Court Illinois Supreme Court
Lower Court Ruling First Amendment claim denied
For Petitioner
Albert E. Jenner, Jr.

For Respondent
Leo J. Sullivan III

For Amicus
Don H. Reuben, Lawrence Gunnels, and James A. Serritella for the Catholic Bishop of Chicago

News Stories & Commentary
Anderson, Jack and Les Whitten, "Communist-Backed Church's Role," The Washington Post, June 14, 1977, Sect. B, p. 13
Hirsley, Michael, "Serbian church rebels to fight property ruling," Chicago Tribune, Jan. 1, 1978, Sect. A, p. 22
Ruling - Lower Court
60 Ill. 2d 477, 328 N. E. 2d 268
Chemerinsky, Erwin, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (3rd Ed.) (2006), p. 1267
Gey, Steven G., RELIGION AND THE STATE (2nd Ed.) (2006), p. 699
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