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Opinion
Noah Feldman

Why Supreme Court Liberals Joined Conservatives on Religion

These justices seem to have a real desire to avoid 5-4 decisions.

The U.S. Capitol seen from the U.S. Supreme Court building.

The U.S. Capitol seen from the U.S. Supreme Court building.

Photographer: Bloomberg

The Supreme Court has decided, 7-2, that teachers in Catholic elementary schools are not covered by employment discrimination law. This is a highly important expansion of religious exemptions from government regulation.

The Supreme Court had already given religious institutions an exemption for so-called “ministerial” employees. It has now gone substantially further, declaring that such institutions are entitled to “autonomy with respect to internal management decisions that are essential to the institution’s central mission” according the majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, the justice most committed to expansion of religious exemptions.