Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC
The Conflict Between Religious Liberty and Civil Rights
Over the past forty years, courts have developed the "ministerial exception," a legal doctrine which has immunized churches from employment-based claims brought by their clergy (and others with significant religious duties). The lower courts have generally recognized the exception, though they have disagreed on when exactly it applies and what exactly it covers. The United States Supreme Court, however, has never clarified its boundaries or even said it exists at all.
On October 5th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC. The Court will decide both whether it extends to claims brought by teachers at religious schools under the American with Disabilities Act.
Professors Caroline Corbin, Univeristy of Miami School of Law, and Christopher Lund, Wayne State University, will be at King Hall discussing the case.
Professor Corbin holds a B.A. from Harvard University (1991) and a J.D. from Columbia Law School (2001). She was a James Kent Scholar while at Columbia Law School, where she also won the Pauline Berman Heller Prize and the James A. Elkins Prize for Constitutional Law. Following law school, she clerked for the Hon. M. Blane Michael of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She then litigated as a pro bono fellow at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and as an attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Columbia Law School immediately prior to joining the University of Miami faculty. Professor Corbin's primary area of research is the First Amendment, and her articles have appeared in the New York University Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and Boston University Law Review.
Christopher C. Lund is an assistant professor of law at Wayne State University Law School, where his principal academic interest is in religious liberty. His work has been published (or is forthcoming) in law reviews like the Minnesota Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, and the Northwestern University Law Review, peer-reviewed legal journals like the Journal of Law and Religion, and peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journals, like History of Religions.
Professor Lund has represented a wide variety of groups and causes. He has, for example, drafted briefs for the American Civil Liberties Union defending the rights of Christian parents to homeschool their children, and for the National Association of Evangelicals supporting the religious freedom of Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He regularly advises church-state groups regarding litigated cases and pending legislation. He is also a past chair (2009-10) of the Law and Religion Section of the Association of American Law Schools.