On Wednesday morning, the US Supreme Court enshrined the ability of Yeshivos and other religious entities to select its staff in accordance with the principles of their faiths.
In a 7-2 decision, the Justices clarified that the “Ministerial Exception” to discrimination laws even applied to those whose roles are not officially as “rabbis” or other religious clergy. The Justices explained that the courts can properly appreciate the nuances of religious institutions’ employment concerns, and they are thus able to make their own decisions about the compatibility of employees with their religious values.
This news has been warmly welcomed by Orthodox Jewish organizations and institutions. This makes it substantially easier for them to make appropriate hires without the threat of frivolous lawsuits.
Five months ago, the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA) filed an amicus brief, written by noted attorney Nat Lewin, in this case on behalf of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, Agudath Israel of America, Agudas Harabbonim, National Council of Young Israel, Rabbinical Alliance of America and Rabbinical Council of America.
Duvi Honig, Founder and CEO of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, is thrilled that the brief succeeded. “At a time when democracy and freedom is so often used as a cudgel against religious Americans, it is great to see the Supreme Court reaffirm our protections in employment and other key areas of life,” he says. “I would like to thank Nat Lewin for successfully bringing the voice of the Chamber and the communities we represent to the highest court in the land.”