Thursday, July 22, 2010

Circuit Split Watch

Marci Hamilton, a Cardozo law professor, posted this opinion piece today on discrimination suits involving religious employers and the "ministerial exception."  (The Tenth Circuit issued a decision in such a case just last week, ruling in favor of the employer.)  Hamilton describes the ministerial exception as "an interpretation of the First Amendment's Religion Clauses that requires the courts to avoid interfering with religious organizations' employment decisions regarding clergy and other religious employees who are involved in religious doctrine."  She argues that circuits are split on the exception and calls on the Supreme Court to step in and clarify the law. 

This article about last week's Tenth Circuit decision also discusses the circuit split and quotes the attorney for the religious organization that won the case, speaking in favor of the ministerial exception.