Supreme Court: Churches Can Choose Their Pastors

In one of the clearest rulings for religious freedom in years, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided that courts may not intervene in church hiring decisions, protecting the “ministerial exception” that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sought to eliminate in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC.

“[T]he authority to select and control who will minister to the faithful is the church’s alone,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Elena Kagan wrote separate concurring opinions that said the ministerial exception should be even broader than Roberts allowed in his opinion.

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