Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

The United States Supreme Court has accepted a legal petition presented in an unusual manner: in handwritten form, without the benefit of any lawyer.

The case comes from a convict in the Arkansas State prison system, one Gregory Holt, “aka Abdul Malik Muhammad,” who wants to wear a beard while incarcerated, in accordance with his religion. The prison rules prohibit beards on hygiene and security grounds. Muhammad’s case is interesting. Questions include (and I quote)

  • Whether the Arkansas Department of Corrections’ no beard grooming policy violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act…
  • Whether a 1/2 inch beard would satisfy the security goals sought by the policy.
  • Whether the no beard grooming policy violates Petitioner’s First Amendment right to practice Islam as he believes it…

How will the Supreme Court rule? On the face of it (no beard pun intended), prisoners’ appeals for court intervention in how they are incarcerated, on the basis of their rights, may seem odd to some. After all, the whole point of imprisonment is to deny the most basic right to liberty, because, presumably, a criminal has denied someone else’s rights.

But in our society, even those guilty of serious crimes and having lost much of their freedom retain certain rights. This stems mostly from our fear of what becomes of us — not the criminals — should we stop respecting every person’s humanity.

It’s also heartening to see a petition rise to the highest court in the land from the very lowest perch without aid of a lawyer … or even a computer or typewriter.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Rick says:

    OT: If you steal, front-run trading or collude to fix prices in the private sector you are guilty of crimes and go to jail. UNLESS you’re connected to a government institution or a TBTF(too big to fail) bank.

  2. Leave it to you, Paul to define a principle often overlooked. We set a high standard for those who are given control over others for our humanity. though I fear this understanding is being lost.

  3. …. heartening to see a petition rise to the highest court in the land from the very lowest perch with the aid of a neither computer nor typewriter. Not even a lawyer ….

    Or descend to our beloved fraternal republic’s most humble court. Entrusted to it by a Sovereign American.

  4. Drik says:

    My religion requires that I practice with a sword and firearm every day and puts no importance on a particular kind of clothing or grooming. Or does a religion only get acknowleged if it has acquired above some critical mass number of followers? Or have to be followed for more than a certain number of years? How does group acceptance legitimize it? Or longevity either? How big does my cult have to get before it gets rubberstamped approved?

  5. Jay says:

    I have a better idea–deport him to an Islamic country where he can do what he wants, and save taxpayers money.

    I have no love or respect for Islam or its practitioners.

    (I know, many or at least some) condemnation of me for it. But, consider some of the horrific-talking late 20- to the present-terrorists and religious attacks–mostly by Islaists.

    My view

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