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Supreme Court Shields Religious Schools From Bias Suits (1)

July 8, 2020, 2:07 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court gave religious organizations a broader exemption from discrimination suits, throwing out bias claims filed by teachers who were fired from their jobs at two Roman Catholic grade schools in California.

The justices, voting 7-2, said the Constitution gives faith-based groups broad power to hire and fire employees who carry out important religious functions, including teaching religion to children. The decision extends earlier Supreme Court rulings that shielded religious organizations from employment-discrimination claims by ministers.

The ruling comes weeks after the court ruled that gay and transgender workers can sue for job discrimination under federal law. The latest decision underscores an important qualification to that ruling, giving faith-based groups a broader license to ignore civil rights laws of all types, including LGBT protections.

Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the court’s conservative wing in the majority.

The Supreme Court’s conservative wing has been broadly supportive of religious rights in recent years. Last week a divided court bolstered the school-choice movement by ruling that states must include religious schools in programs that offer taxpayer subsidies for private education.

(Updates with vote breakdown in fourth paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story:
Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net

Laurie Asséo

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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