Washington, D.C. — In response to the Supreme Court’s rulings today in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul v. Pennsylvania and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James Catholic School v. Biel, both of which uphold expansive powers for religious employers over the rights of their employees, People For the American Way President Ben Jealous and Executive Vice President for Policy and Program Marge Baker released the following statements:
“These Supreme Court rulings will have very detrimental impacts on the lives of people who are struggling with financial and health care challenges in these difficult times. By deciding that religious schools can categorize lay teachers as ministers and deprive them of employee rights, and that the Trump administration has the authority to adopt a rule giving employers even more expansive rights to deny birth control coverage to employees on religious grounds, the Court is setting the stage for vulnerable people to lose jobs and medical care. It’s true that both rulings could have gone farther and been worse. While that will be cold comfort to many, it does underscore once again how critically important elections are. More far-right Trump justices on the Supreme Court would push rulings into more dangerous territory more often, and that is something to avoid at all costs,” said Jealous.
“There’s no question that today’s rulings are both serious setbacks for employees and will endanger working people’s jobs and health. At the same time, it appears that the influence of Justices Breyer and Kagan in the contraceptive case did create at least some limits. While the immediate effects of that ruling are appalling, it is clear that the door remains open to further challenges, and that a Biden administration could quickly reverse the very harmful rule. Also today, the ultraconservative justices did not prevail in their desire to give religious employers unlimited power to classify workers as ministers. Both of these rulings point to the importance of continuing to fight for our critical legal rights and protections,” said Baker.
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more:https://www.pfaw.org.