Professor Michael Helfand, "The First Amendment and the Vocabulary of Freedom" -- Jewish Review of Books
Professor Michael A. Helfand's opinion piece, "The First Amendment and the Vocabulary of Freedom" has been published in the Jewish Review of Books. The article examines the "ministerial exception" constitutional doctrine as the Supreme Court considers religious employment discrimination claims in the cases Our Lady Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel.
Excerpt from "The First Amendment and the Vocabulary of Freedom"
There is reason to think that the court will ultimately side with the Catholic schools. But the overarching lesson in all of this is that protecting the diversity of faith communities requires not only critical legal decisions but also new legal language. The ministerial exception is not alone in needing a lexical reboot. The Internal Revenue Code still gives a tax exemption to "ministers of the gospel"; courts still invoke "church autonomy" when describing the institutional freedoms afforded religious institutions. Of course, judicial interpretation has increasingly aspired to include all faith communities in these categories. But the fact that our constitutional vocabulary retains vestiges of a majority faith subtly influences the scope of those freedoms.
The complete article may be found here