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Life Site News: Greg Baylor, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, told LifeSiteNews that “[t]he press accounts of this dispute do not provide enough information about the discharged band director’s job position to enable one to determine whether the ministerial exception might be available.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: So much of what we hear in the news is so discouraging that, at times, it’s good just to stop and “count our blessings” – not only as individuals, but as a legal ministry committed to defending life, marriage, and religious freedom for you and your family. God continues to bless your organization’s work in so many ways … and while we are always eager to talk about, say, a win at the U.S. Supreme Court, we are also seeing important wins in far less publicized cases that have huge implications for the freedom of you and your family.
Religion News Service: The InterVarsity decision expands/clarifies the interpretation of the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC in 2012. The Hosanna-Tabor decision made it clear that religious organizations had broad powers to hire and fire those it considered to be “ministers.”
The Washington Post: Eric Rassbach from the Becket Fund — the public interest law firm that on Tuesday won the Holt v. Hobbs prisoner rights case — was kind enough to pass along his thoughts on what the case means for religious liberty more generally.
Associated Press: “Religious institutions in Kentucky may hire and fire people from strictly ecclesiastical jobs as they see fit, but could face legal action if an employment contract is involved, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday.”
Thomas Kidd at Patheos: “If the administration had its way, then the national government would wield a great deal more power over the hiring practices of faith-based organizations, and a great deal more authority to force religious dissenters to comply with federal policy. Aggressive new claims of government power over religious freedom – or over any basic freedom – are dangerous.”
Blog of the Legal Times: In a speech today at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) attacked the Obama administration’s record before the U.S. Supreme Court, characterizing the Justice Department’s positions as “radical advocacy for unchecked federal authority.”
The HHS Mandate, Hosanna-Tabor, and the Question of Religious Organizations | Brian Murray at Public Discourse
Brian Murray at Public Discourse: The Supreme Court’s decision in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC shows that we need a workable legal framework for self-proclaimed religious organizations to claim protection under the Free Exercise Clause.
Church Autonomy Reconceived: The Logic and Limits of Hosanna-Tabor | Christiopher Lund at Nortwestern L. Rev. via SSRN
Lund, Christopher C., Church Autonomy Reconceived: The Logic and Limits of Hosanna-Tabor (July 16, 2013). Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 108, No. 2, 2014 Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2294766
What’s Religion Got To Do With It? Virtually Nothing: Hosanna-Tabor and the Unbridled Power of the Ministerial Exemption
Maarsha B. Freeman, What’s Religion Got To Do With It? Virtually Nothing: Hosanna-Tabor and the Unbridled Power of the Ministerial Exemption, [Abstract], 16 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law & Social Change 133-149 (2013).
The United States Supreme Court recently ruled against a high school teacher who had claimed discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) after being fired from her lay position at a church-run high school. 2 While the case ostensibly revolved around her claim for reasonable accommodation for a medical condition, 3 the decision was based not on whether such an accommodation was both available and reasonable under the Act, but on whether the school had to provide one even if it were, holding that the Act exempted the school from such requirements merely because of its religious status. 4 . . .
R.R. Reno of First Things at Imprimis (Hillsdale College): RELIGIOUS LIBERTY is being redefined in America, or at least many would like it to be. Our secular establishment wants to reduce the autonomy of religious institutions and limit the influence of faith in the public square. The reason is not hard to grasp. In America, “religion” largely means Christianity, and today our secular culture views orthodox Christian churches as troublesome, retrograde, and reactionary forces. They’re seen as anti-science, anti-gay, and anti-women—which is to say anti-progress as the Left defines progress.
Ed Whelan at NRO: I’ll add another reason: Perez, in his current capacity as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Justice Department, signed on to the Obama administration’s brief in the Hosanna-Tabor case, a brief that was remarkably hostile to the religious-liberty right of churches and other religious organizations to select their own faith leaders.
Becket Fund: The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will brief the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as they examine recent legal developments concerning the intersection of non-discrimination principles with those of religious liberty
National Review: The U. S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a public hearing on recent developments involving the intersection of religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws. The hearing will take place on Friday March 22, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. EDT at the Commission’s headquarters located at 1331 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C.
National Review Bench Memos: As regular Cornerite Peter Kirsanow notes, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (on which he serves) will hold a hearing next month on religious liberty, and will solicit comments for a month after that. Here’s a Commission press release . . .
Carl Esbeck: A Religious Organization’s Autonomy in Matters of Self-Governance: Hosanna-Tabor and the First Amendment
Carl Esbeck, A Religious Organization’s Autonomy in Matters of Self-Governance: Hosanna-Tabor and the First Amendment, Engage Vol. 13 Issue 1 (2012)
In the second week of January, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.1 The case involved a fourth-grade teacher, Cheryl Perich, suing her employer, a church-based school, alleging retaliation for having asserted her rights under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). . . .
ADF Attorney Kevin Theriot at the Speak Up Movement Blog: The appeals court (and the Associated Press) failed to recognize something even Christians sometimes forget – our biblical worldview and Christian principles affect all aspects of our lives. That certainly includes how we teach our children all subjects – even those that don’t appear to be “religious” – such as music and social studies.
David Skeel at WSJ.com: The high court calls for accommodating religion. The White House pushes back.
The New American: “No federal court has ruled that prayers cannot be offered before public meetings,” said attorney David Cortman of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the conservative legal advocacy group that represented the county in the case. He added, however, that the Supreme Court had “missed an opportunity to clear up the differing opinions among the various circuits about the content of the prayers. This means that, for the time being, the standard for prayer policies in the 4th Circuit will be different from the standard held by the rest of the country.”
ADF Attorney David Cortman appeared on the Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hosanna Tabor (ministerial exception for Christian school teachers) and its refusal to hear Forsyth County (sectarian legislative prayer). | MP3 audio 7:10 mins
FRC Washington Update: he Supreme Court giveth, and the Supreme Court taketh away. Just days after handing down one of the biggest victories for religious freedom in a half-century, the justices are back to ignoring the principles they upheld
ADF Attorney Erik Stanley at Speak Up Movement Church Blog: Earlier, Kevin Theriot blogged about the Supreme Court’s decision in EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor. The case was a phenomenal win for religious freedom and has far-reaching implications. In analyzing the opinion, one important implication is that the Supreme Court has announced heightened protection for the internal affairs of a church and for situations that affect the faith and mission of the church.
Balkinization: One of the curious features of the Supreme Court’s version of the ministerial exception is that the rule is stated in absolute terms that eschew all attempts at balancing.
Michael Paulsen at Public Discourse: In a recent decision, the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment provides additional and independent rights to religious organizations, beyond those to which non-religious groups are entitled.
Kevin Theriot: Supreme Court Affirms – A Church Should Determine Who Its Ministers Are, Not The Gov’t
ADF Attorney Kevin Theriot at Speak Up Movement Church Blog: The Supreme Court just handed down a fantastic ruling affirming the right of churches to employ only those individuals that share their beliefs and live their lives according to the teaching of the church.
Kevin Theriot on the Hugh Hewitt Show: Landmark ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot regarding today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
“The Supreme Court was right to conclude that the government cannot contradict a church’s determination of who can act as its ministers. This clearly goes to the heart of the original intent of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. ADF has been pleased to represent this church and school in the trial court since the 6th Circuit handed down its opinion, and we commend The Becket Fund for its excellent work representing them before the Supreme Court.”
Stanley Fish at NYTimes.com: The religion clause case recently argued before the Supreme Court — Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC — centers on the “ministerial exception,” the doctrine (elaborated over the last 40 years) that exempts religious associations from complying with neutral, generally applicable laws in some, but not all, circumstances.
Catholic Culture: In argument before the Supreme Court on an anti-discrimination case, the solicitor general—representing the Obama administration—said that the government would uphold the right of the Catholic Church to preserve an all-male priesthood, but only “because the balance of relative public and private interests is different in each case.”
Justin Deyer at Public Discourse: An upcoming Supreme Court decision might give government, rather than religious organizations, the final say on who counts as a religious minister.
U.S. Supreme Court transcript and argument recap: No way to define boundary between church and state?
Nina Totenberg at NPR (includes audio): The United States Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a major case testing the rights of teachers in religious schools. At rock bottom, the issue is who is a minister and when, if ever, that individual is exempt from the nation’s civil rights laws.
Michael W. McConnell at WSJ.com: The Supreme Court weighs whether the feds can decide which church employees are clergy and which aren’t.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: Wednesday, the Court will be hearing Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, an important religious freedom case.
The Washington Post: The Supreme Court on Wednesday (Oct. 5.) will hear one of most important religion cases in decades, centered on the degree to which religious institutions should be exempt from anti-discrimination laws.
Deseret News: In 1999, Perich signed a one-year contract to teach at Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church and School in Redford, Mich. The next year the congregation voted to make her a “called teacher” — a commissioned minister in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. She didn’t have to renew a contract every year and could now take tax breaks reserved for ministers. And, under Lutheran teachings, she would be answering a call from God. But five years later they would vote to rescind her call and put into motion what many say is the most important religious freedom case in years.
Thomas S. Kidd at USATODAY.com: The next time you walk into church, or your synagogue or mosque, say a little thanks to God for our founding principles. There’s a lot for which to be grateful, after all, and the freedom to worship is among our greatest blessings. But a new report by Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life has revealed a disturbing pattern . . .
“I share a real concern that the attempt to impose the current prevailing template of equality and discrimination on religious organizations is an erosion of religious liberty,” Lord Sacks told a House of Commons committee in June. “We are beginning to move back to where we came in in the 17th century—a whole lot of people on the Mayflower leaving to find religious freedom elsewhere.”
Religion Clause: Amicus Briefs In Hosanna-Tabor Case Are Available Online: All of the amicus briefs have now been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC, a case raising the question of the scope of the “ministerial exception” to federal non-discrimination laws.
ACLU files brief in Supreme Court case involving the right of religious schools to control hiring decisions
ACLU: The American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend-of-the-court brief today in a Supreme Court case arguing that churches do not have the right to discriminate based on non-religious grounds
Americans United for Separation of Church and State: AU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case pending before the justices called Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case deals with a Michigan religious school that fired a teacher because of a medical condition.
ADF attorney Kevin Theriot at Baptist Press: Last year, a church school in Redford, Mich., was dealt a blow to its independence from government control by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Hosanna-Tabor is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and operates a church and school . . . The good news is that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the Sixth Circuit’s decision this year.
Kevin Theriot at the Speak Up Movement Church Blog: If you’ve ever watched “Leave it to Beaver” re-reruns, you know that Beaver, the young star of the show, was always getting hassled by his older brother’s friend, Eddie Haskell. Eddie was the neighborhood smart-mouth. When the abuse became unbearable, the Beaver would say something like this, “Gee Dad, Eddie’s giving me the business again.” That’s exactly what the Sixth Circuit did to a church’s religious school in the EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor case last year.
Law Prof. Richard W. Garnett write at USA Today: In a nutshell, Hosanna-Tabor is a lawsuit brought by Cheryl Perich, a former teacher at a church-run Lutheran grade school who argues that the church violated a federal law against disability-based discrimination when it rescinded her “call” as a “commissioned minister” — and fired her as a third- and fourth-grade teacher, after a disability-related leave of absence.
Concurring Opinions: Professor Caroline Mala Corbin has kindly agreed to shed light on the ministerial exception raised by an upcoming Supreme Court case. She brings significant expertise to the issue: see her excellent Fordham Law Review article Above the Law? The Constitutionality of the Ministerial Exemption from Antidiscrimination Law . . . Earlier this week, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, a case involving the ministerial exception (also known as the ministerial exemption) . . .
First Things First Thoughts Blog: “From Rick Garnett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame: Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear (what I think is) the most important religious-freedom case in 20 years. The Supreme Court this morning granted cert in Hosanna Tabor Church v. EEOC. (More here, at the Religion Clause blog.)”
SCOTUS Blog reports on the cases of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC and Weishuhn v. Catholic Diocese of Lansing.
John Elwood writes at the Volokh Conspiracy: “Cooke v. Tubra, 10–559 . . . presents the question whether the First Amendment bars a pastor’s defamation claim against the church that employed him when the claim is based entirely on statements made by church officials . . . In addition, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v EEOC, 10–553, involves whether the judicially recognized “ministerial exception” to the Americans with Disabilities Act, bars review of the termination of a parochial school teacher who teaches the full secular curriculum, but also teaches daily religion classes . . . ”
Eugene Volokh writing at The Volokh Conspiracy: “Prof. Doug Laycock — one of the leading Religion Clauses scholars in the nation — and the Becket Fund have just filed an excellent petition for certiorari asking the Court to review EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor (6th Cir. 2010) . . . ‘Federal circuits are in sharp and acknowledged conflict over what legal standard controls the boundaries of the ministerial exception . . . ‘”
Becket Fund: “Today the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision that could require a Lutheran elementary school to re-hire a teacher it dismissed for religious reasons. At issue in the case is the scope of the ‘ministerial exception’—a First Amendment doctrine that protects the right of religious organizations to select employees who perform religious functions.”
Religion Clause Blog: “In March, the 6th Circuit in EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School held that parochial school teachers who teach primarily secular subjects are covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act. (See prior posting.) The court reasoned that they are not “ministerial employees” who are excepted from coverage . . . ”