JV – US Government Paper

Supreme Court Case from the 2011 Term

The Supreme Court agreed to hear 17 cases in 2011. The one that stood out to me  was about Cheryl Perich who worked at the Hosanna Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School. After 12 years of teaching she became ill. Because of her illness (which was narcolepsy[1]) she missed a year of teaching and the school released her from her teaching commission.[2] Outraged, she sued the school. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agreed to defend her case. The EEOC brought the case to the Supreme Court, and they accepted in March of last year.[3] They gave their ruling in August. Since the Supreme Court can overturn any decision made by federal courts or state courts (if it is concerning federal law). This case became a major concern for strict constitutionals and for people concerned with government interference wit the church. Most of the Supreme Court Justices are Christian making this an important subject not only to the Christian community but to the Supreme Court. [4]

The EEOC and Cheryl Perich argued that on occasion religious organizations are under the same laws as everyone else and in this case the church is under the the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was a law passed in 1990 to  protect disabled Americans. The school was arguing that Cheryl Perich was a “commissioned minister” and is exempted from the ADA.[5] The EEOC used this quote from the ADA to defend there case, “No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee  compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.[6]”

The separation of church and state is a fine line to walk. So does the ADA have affect? The lower court says that it does not have an effect because it was in a religious standpoint. This was overruled by the Supreme Court saying that it is  in direct violation of the doctrine of the church. It does not justify her lawsuit against the Hosanna Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School.[7]

I agree that the ADA applies if it is in not in direct violation of the doctrine of the church. But if I missed a term of teaching or did not go to work for a year I would expect to be fired. I think that overall that this was important for the advancement of the church and state relations.

Works cited

[1]Lithwick, Dahlia. “The Supreme Court Asks Which Is More Important: Preventing Discrimination or Protecting Religion?” Slate Magazine. The Slate Group, 5 Oct. 2011. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2011/10/cheryl_perich_case_the_supreme_court_tries_to_figure_out_what_it.html>.

[2][7]ACLU. “American Civil Liberties Union.” American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU, 9 Aug. 2011. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/hosanna-tabor-evangelical-lutheran-church-and-school-v-equal-employment-opportunity>.

[3] “The Ministerial Exception.” nytimes. NYT, 12 Jan. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/opinion/the-ministerial-exception.html>

[4]Adherents. “Religious Affiliation of the U.S. Supreme Court.” Religion of the Supreme Court. Adherents, 31 Mar. 2006. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.adherents.com/adh_sc.html>.

[5] PewResearchCenter. “In Brief: Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC.” Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew Research Center, 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.pewforum.org/Church-State-Law/The-Supreme-Court-Takes-Up-Church-Employment-Disputes-and-the-“Ministerial-Exception”.aspx>.

[6]CPR. “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).” Boston University. Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <http://www.bu.edu/cpr/reasaccom/whatlaws-adaact.html>.




1 Comment

Filed under JV, Students

One response to “JV – US Government Paper

  1. myboysteacher34

    Well, that was a fun read! Thanks for sharing!

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