Supreme Court Justices find government line in church-state case ‘amazing’

U.S. Supreme Court
Sometimes, you just gotta wonder…

From ABC News, a report on the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court:

…The Obama administration, arguing on behalf of the EEOC, urged the court to reject the claims of the Lutheran Church and embrace a line of analysis that would have virtually eliminated the ministerial exception.

At one point, Justice Elena Kagan asked [Leondra Kruger, an assistant solicitor general] whether she believed that a church has a right grounded in First Amendment religious protections to hire and fire employees without government interference.

Kruger answered that the government was basing its argument on the freedom of association, rather than the parts of the First Amendment that deal with religious freedom.

“We don’t see that line of church autonomy principles in the religion clause jurisprudence as such,” Kruger replied. “We see it as a question of freedom of association.”

The position surprised several justices, including Justice Kagan, the Obama administration’s former solicitor general, who said she found the comment “amazing.” After the hearing, one representative of a religious association called the government’s position a “full frontal assault on religious liberty.”

Ms. Kruger said, no, that there was no difference whether the group was a religious group, a labor group, or any other association of individuals.

“That’s extraordinary. That is extraordinary,” Justice Antonin Scalia declared. “We are talking here about the free exercise clause and about the establishment clause, and you say they have no special application?”…

Check it out.

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