High court likely to allow Muslim inmate’s beard

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court appears likely to side with an Arkansas prison inmate who says his Muslim beliefs require him to grow a half-inch beard.

The justices on Tuesday took up their first religious liberty case since the Hobby Lobby case bitterly divided them in June over whether family-owned corporations could mount religious objections to paying for women’s contraceptives under the health care overhaul.

There was no such division evident in the courtroom Tuesday as several justices were openly skeptical of arguments made by a lawyer for Arkansas in defense of a policy that allows mustaches for all inmates and a few days’ growth for prisoners with skin conditions, but no beards.

The Obama administration, religious groups and atheists alike are supporting 39-year-old Gregory Holt, who is serving a life sentence.

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