There were two major victories for religious freedom and religious liberty at the U.S. Supreme Court.
On today’s Jay Sekulow Live, we discussed the two major victories for religious liberty at the Supreme Court. The ACLJ had filed amicus briefs in both of those cases.
Both cases were decided 7-2, both with the same makeup of Justices. You’ve got two different authors in the opinions in these cases. The first one to come out this morning was Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and also combined with St. James School v. Biel. That decision was written by Justice Alito, again with a 7-2 decision.
So the conservative justices of the Supreme Court were joined by Justice Kagan and Justice Breyer. That was the same makeup as the case regarding the Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, also a 7-2 decision. Justice Thomas wrote that opinion with Justice Kagan and Justice Breyer joining the conservatives.
Let’s start off with the Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru case. This is very similar to another case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC. Do religious schools fall under the ministerial exception? That means they get to decide who to hire and fire if they believe that someone does not share the faith or the principles or the ideology of the school. That means they can fire someone and not face potential civil rights claims in court, that someone can’t even take them to court to make that claim.
This case expands the Hosanna-Tabor decision, which was a 9-0 decision, to even more individuals who work at the school. In this Our Lady of Guadalupe School decision, the Supreme Court said yes, the ministerial exception still applies.
My dad, Jay Sekulow, made the following point:
This is a big win for religious liberty, I want to be clear. First of all, you have a supermajority of the Court, 7-2. That’s a good sign to religious freedom cases. You have liberal members of the Court siding with the conservatives, specifically Justice Breyer and Justice Kagan. Justice Breyer on religious liberty has issued cases on Ten Commandment displays determining them to be constitutional in context. So we argued in our brief, we filed a friend of the court brief in this case, and we said, The animating principle of the ministerial exception is preservation of religious autonomy. In every other context where institutional autonomy has been an important consideration, this Court has consistently accorded a significant degree of deference to the institution’s decisions.
The Court, in its opinion said, The independence of religious institutions in matters of “faith and doctrine” is closely linked to independence in what the Court has termed “matters of church government.” So this tracks very closely to what we set forth in our arguments and obviously this is a very big decision, 7-2.
We at the ACLJ also filed a friend of the court brief in the Little Sisters of the Poor case, another major victory for life and religious liberty.
The full broadcast is complete with much more in-depth discussion by our team of the great victories for religious liberty at the Supreme Court in both the Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru case and the Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania case, and how they relate to our upcoming lawsuit against the state of California for banning singing and chanting in church.
Watch the full broadcast below.
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