Victory for Religious Freedom at Supreme Court | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion

Verified

By Jay Sekulow1326323406000

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court today issued an important decision representing a tremendous victory for religious freedom.

The high court concluded that courts should not intervene in the workings of churches. The Justices determined that the First Amendment protects the ability of churches and church schools to select their ministerial employees without government intrusion.

Here's the background: The case involved a religiously commissioned teacher who taught in a Missouri Synod Lutheran school but was fired after she became confrontational with the school administration. The federal EEOC and the teacher herself teamed up to sue the church, claiming the church "retaliated" against her for threatening to sue over a medical disability.

A federal district court threw the case out on the grounds that the so-called "ministerial exception" to employment laws barred court review of the retaliation claim. But a federal appeals court reinstated the lawsuit, reasoning that the teacher's religious role and duties were outweighed by her instruction of the students in secular subjects.

The Supreme Court today overturned that appeals court decision. The Court concluded that both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment protects the freedom of churches to select religiously commissioned teachers for their religious grade schools.

In its opinion, the high court concluded: "The interest of society in the enforcement of employment discrimination statutes is undoubtedly important," said Chief Justice John Roberts. "But so too is the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith, and carry out their mission."

"When a minister who has been fired sues her church alleging that her termination was discriminatory, the First Amendment has struck the balance for us. The church must be free to choose those who will guide its way," Roberts added.

We filed an amicus brief in this case on behalf of itself and the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA.

This decision by the Court will generate a lot of interest and analysis. The fact that the Court was unanimous in this decision underlines how an essential part of religious liberty is the principle that churches and synagogues get to select their religion teachers.

Government has no business deciding who should or should not carry out religious ministry, and we're delighted the high court reached that conclusion.

 

Latest in
Constitution

Sessions Must be Confirmed as Attorney General

By Jay Sekulow1483970400000

Tomorrow, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary is set to begin its confirmation hearings on Senator Jeff Sessions’ appointment to serve as the next Attorney General for the United States. The Attorney General is arguably a President’s most important Cabinet position. It is critical that the next...

read more

ACLJ's 2nd Brief to Protect Election Process

By Jay Sekulow1481300353949

Last week, we reported on the efforts being made to undermine the American election system with challenges being raised in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. We sent our letter to the Pennsylvania election officials urging careful compliance with the law and, just days later, we filed a...

read more

ACLJ Files Brief to Protect Election Process

By Jay Sekulow1480725790977

Just days ago we told you about the efforts being made to undermine the American election system with challenges being raised in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. We told you about our letter to the Pennsylvania election officials urging them to ensure that local law is meticulously followed.

read more

Fighting for Election Integrity

By Jay Sekulow1480449638790

The United States Constitution has provided the fundamental framework for free and fair elections that have allowed peaceful transitions of power for all the world to see how truly exceptional America is. Now, in the aftermath of the 2016 election, leftist agitators are pulling out every trick in...

read more