Press Releases

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Recognizes and Protects the Independence of Religious Institutions

July 8, 2020

News Release
For Immediate Release: 7.8.20
Contact: Lacey McNiel,
Direct: 972-941-4453

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Recognizes and Protects the Independence of Religious Institutions
First Liberty Institute filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Our Lady of Guadalupe School urging Court to preserve school’s First Amendment rights

Washington, DC—Today, in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 7-2 that courts should stay out of employment disputes involving important positions with churches and religious organizations. The Court’s decision is a major victory for religious freedom, and it affirms the principle that religious schools, and other religious institutions, have a Constitutional right to decide who teaches their faith without government interference.

“We applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing that the Constitution bars the government from interfering in the independent employment decisions of religious organizations,” said Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO, and Chief Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “There should no longer be any doubt that religious schools and institutions have the right to freely choose who will preach their religious message, teach their religious doctrine, and lead our future generations according to their religious tradition.”

In his majority opinion today, Justice Samuel Alito reiterated that, “The First Amendment protects the right of religious institutions ‘to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.’”  He added, “The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission. Judicial review of the way in which religious schools discharge those responsibilities would undermine the independence of religious institutions in a way that the First Amendment does not tolerate.”

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at or by calling 972-941-4453.

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