Redefining Religious Freedom: The U.S. Supreme Court 2019-20 Term


As the only organization solely dedicated to protecting church-state separation, Americans United is alarmed by four decisions from the Supreme Courts’ 2019-20 term. The court is redefining and distorting religious freedom in a way that privileges certain religious beliefs over the interests and well-being of the vast majority of Americans. 

AU filed friend-of-the-court briefs in each of these cases, continues to litigate several related religious-freedom cases, and will work in Congress, state capitals and communities across the country to protect America’s fundamental principle of religious freedom as a right that protects everyone’s freedom to believe or not, as long as we don’t harm others. 



SCOTUS on Private Religious Schools

In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the court ruled that taxpayers can be forced to fund religious schools in states with private school voucher programs. In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the court ruled that “ministerial exception” means teachers at private religious schools aren't protected from employment discrimination. 

Case Analysis

Espinoza v. Montana: "What Comes Next

Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey-Berru: "Are You a Minister?




SCOTUS on Reproductive Freedom

The Supreme Court protected people in Louisiana who are seeking abortions, BUT in Trump v. Pennsylvania, the court allowed the Trump administration to issue exemptions to the Affordable Care Act  allowing employers and universities the right to use religion to deny their employees and students birth control insurance coverage.

Case Analysis 

Trump v. PA: "Birth Control Access is at Risk"





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SCOTUS on LGBTQ Equality 

In Bostock v. Clayton County, the court affirmed that LGBTQ people are protected from workplace discrimination by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, but didn’t determine if discrimination that is motivated by an employer’s religious beliefs is still forbidden.

Case Analysis 

"The State of Religion & Government after Title VII