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Supreme Court to Hear Religious Hiring Case E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear the appeal in a case involving the "ministerial exception" to employment discrimination laws. Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC questions whether the exception applies to a teacher at a religious school whose duties are primarily secular. The petition to the court explains this way:

The circuits are in complete agreement about the core applications of this doctrine to pastors, priests, and rabbis. But they are evenly divided over the boundaries of the ministerial exception when applied to other employees. The question presented is:

Whether the ministerial exception applies to a teacher at a religious elementary school who teaches the full secular curriculum, but also teaches daily religion classes, is a commissioned minister, and regularly leads students in prayer and worship.
Howard Friedman at Religion Clause offers a great rundown of the issues at stake. Mark Walsh at Education Week describes the arguments on either side.

Professor Rick Garnett believes the case to be "the most important religious freedom case in 20 years." 

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