Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioners (Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru) (2020)

In the Guadalupe case, an important amicus brief was filed by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. It argued that the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hosanna-Tabor case affirmed that the ministerial exception protects the autonomy of religious organizations to select those who perform significant religious functions, including religion teachers and others who help transmit the faith. The First Amendment forbids the government from interfering with the internal governance of the church. To protect the right of religious autonomy, religious organizations must have the freedom to “control … the selection of those who will personify [their] beliefs” or teach their faith:

“Such governmental micromanagement of how religious organizations structure their own affairs is anathema to the Religion Clauses, and would replace religious pluralism with a one-size-fits-all set of organizational rules at an intolerable spiritual price.”

“In short, the Court has long understood the Religion Clauses to protect not only the ‘[f]reedom to select the clergy,’ Kedroff, 344 US at 116, but also the general right of religious groups to organize, regulate, and govern themselves in accordance with their own principles.”

See Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru.