March 28, 2011
Supreme Court to Decide Groundbreaking Church Employment Case
Today the Supreme Court said it would decide a groundbreaking First Amendment case concerning the right of churches and other religious employers to freely choose the people who will lead their congregations, instruct their faithful, and speak for the church.
The lower courts agree that these employees cannot sue their employers when that would put the courts in the position of second-guessing the church’s choice of its religious leaders—a rule known as the “ministerial exception”. But the Supreme Court has never before ruled on such a case, and the lower courts are divided over how far the rule extends and which employees are subject to it.