Thursday, January 12, 2012

Religious Freedom - #3562 - Supreme Court Rules Against Obama Administration - Religious Employees Can't Sue for Job Discrimination - The Blaze (2) Churches Win Major Victory at Supreme Court - Citizen Link

Religious workers can’t sue for job discrimination, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, saying for the first time that churches — not courts — are the best judges of whether clergy and other religious employees should be fired or hired. The Blaze originally covered this story in October.  But the high court tempered its decision bolstering the constitutional separation of church and state by refusing to give a detailed description of what constitutes a religious employee, which left an untold number of workers at churches, synagogues and other religious organizations still in limbo over whether government antidiscrimination laws protect them in job bias disputes.  It was, nevertheless, the first time the high court has acknowledged the existence of a so-called “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination laws — a doctrine developed in lower court rulings. This doctrine says the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion shields churches and their operations from the reach of such protective laws when the issue involves religious employees of these institutions.  Read more......

Churches Win Major Victory at Supreme Court - Citizen Link - Churches — not the federal government — retain the right to determine for themselves who qualifies as a “minister,” under a landmark, unanimous ruling delivered by the U.S. Supreme Court today.  Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involved a former teacher who sued a church school for wrongful termination after developing a medical condition which prevented her from working.  More than 40 years of legal precedent say the First Amendment protects the special relationship between religious institutions and their employees — known as the “ministerial exception.” As the case wound its way to the Supreme Court, the Obama administration argued that churches’ rights extend only so far as those of any secular organization, and that the “ministerial exception” should cover only employees who cover “exclusively religious functions.”  Read more........

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