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Marines must exempt Sikhs From Boot Camp Shaving Requirements

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From Singh v. BergerToday’s decision by the D.C. Circuit in an opinion of Judge Patricia Millett joined by Judges Neomi Rao, Michelle Childs:

Jaskirat Singh and Milaap Singh Chhal want to serve their nation by enlisting with the United States Marine Corps. Each of them are fully qualified to enlist after they have met the pre-enlistment requirements for the Corps. Their entry is not restricted by any barriers. Jaskirat Milaap, Aekash, and Milaap are all members of the Sikh faith. They must maintain their hair and beards as well as wear certain articles of faith. These religious practices are inconsistent with the Marine Corps’ initial training policy for newly enlisted recruits (commonly known as boot camp). With some exceptions, the Corps has accepted Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs (with some limitations that are not relevant here). After Each of them completes basic training. But it will brook no exception for the Sikh faith during those initial thirteen weeks of boot camp….

[I]In exercising their “plenary constitutional power over the military”, the Political Branches have repeatedly requested that the military balance its need to maintain disciplined uniformity with its religious obligations.



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