Maggie Gallagher

But it's notable that Obama's former solicitor general, Justice Elena Kagan, joined a separate opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that signaled an even stronger refutation than the majority of the Obama administration's radical rejection of special protections for clergy from employment discrimination laws. Kagan and Alito called for an objective standard, not a subjective one -- not so much on who is labeled a minister, but what functions the employee performs: Do you lead prayers, other religious rituals and teach the faith? If so, the government cannot tell a church who it must hire or cannot fire.

Also notable is the fact that the majority opinion roots its rejection of Obama's view in both the Establishment and Free Exercise language of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

To pick and choose who can be a minister, the court ruled, is not only to prevent the free exercise of religion, it inevitably involves the government in the establishment of religion.

Thanks to the amazing high-powered and principled lawyering from the Becket Fund, the Obama administration's capacity to restrict religious liberty just took a big hit.

Thank God.


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.