Supreme Court to consider scope of ministerial exemption

The so-called ministerial exemption to workplace anti-discrimination laws is not very popular in some quarters of legal academia. Were the courts not to recognize a strong exemption of this sort, however, churches and congregations might be forced to employ teachers or even ministers who hew to doctrines they regard as erroneous or sinful, courts would be thrust into intrusive inquiries as to competing claims of fealty to religious doctrine, and the sorts of court orders often issued to bind the conduct of conventional employers might obstruct believers’ freedom to organize church institutions as they see fit. Now the Supreme Court for the first time has agreed to hear a case construing the scope of the ministerial exemption. As public debate proceeds, some might even wind up concluding that the legitimate liberty interest in freedom of association is so important that non-religious organizations should enjoy it too. [Rick Garnett and Chris Lund, PrawfsBlawg]

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