Supreme Court Exempts Religious Organizations From Laws Protecting Against Discrimination

Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC, July 8, 2020 – In a pair of decisions Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court expanded the ability of religious organizations to ignore laws that ensure fairness and equality in society. In one case, the Court ruled that employment nondiscrimination laws simply do not apply to religious organizations when it comes to any employee they might deem a “minister.” This ruling upholds the firing of two Catholic elementary school teachers, one for her age and the other for seeking treatment for breast cancer. In the other case, the Court upheld the Trump administration’s guidelines allowing employers to refuse to cover employees’ contraception if they have a religious or moral objection.

Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement:

“Today’s opinions represent a disappointing setback for the rule of law. The Supreme Court is inviting employers to claim religious belief simply to justify discrimination against their employees. The false premise that these elementary school teachers were ministers should not deprive them of the employment protections Congress intended them to enjoy. Likewise, as Justice Ginsburg noted in her dissent, well over 100,000 women could immediately lose their contraceptive coverage because of the Court’s actions. The president promised to appoint judges who would take away people’s health care, and today we received a preview of just how devastating that pledge will be for people seeking quality health care.”