The Supreme Court just rejected, 9-0, the Obama Administration’s attempt to abolish the ministerial exception. This is a good day for religious liberty. This is a very good day for religious liberty.

Previously, the American courts have recognized that the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom and bar against establishing religions prevents the state from interfering with a church’s choice of its ministers and religious authorities. This principle was called the “ministerial exception.” Under the ministerial exception, I can’t sue if I’m passed over for my ward’s next bishopric, even if I think I was passed over because I’m old, or disabled, or a minority, or female, or gay.

The Obama Administration wanted to abolish the ministerial exception.

In a county where religion is increasingly excluded from the public square and where private religious liberty is under attack, the Obama administration’s defeat is a major defensive victory. While some Mormon liberals may have been excited at the prospect of US marshalls forcing the liberal viewpoint on the Church at gunpoint, anyone sane, anyone with any commitment to the Kingdom, and anyone with any commitment to the US Constitution (not to mention the US marshalls) hoped and prayed that the state was kept from interfering with religious life in this way.

Both BYU and the Church filed amicus briefs. The Church’s brief was a joint production with the Catholics, Episcopalians, and Orthodox Jews.

You can find some good discussion at the Mirror of Justice and Bench Memos.

You can read a related case involving the Church here.

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