The Supreme Court Expands Religious Protections under Federal and State Law


CLE credits earned: 1 General Credit (WA 1 Law and Legal)

In this program, we will review three recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that expand religious protections under federal and state law.
• In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Court held that states may not exclude religious schools from public support that is available to non-religious private schools.
• In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the Court broadened the “ministerial exemption” under Title VII and state anti-discrimination law.
• In Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, the Court upheld Trump Administration carve-outs from the birth-control coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act for faith-based employers.
We will analyze how these decisions represent a significant development from prior Supreme Court precedents addressing the interplay of law and religious expression and consider what may come in future lower court and Supreme Court decisions.

Key topics to be discussed:

• How broadly will the Free Exercise Clause be interpreted to allow funding or subsidies from states to religious institutions after Espinoza?
• How far will the Supreme Court’s decision in Morrissey-Berru be applied with respect to employment positions that primarily do not perform “ministerial functions”? With respect to employers that are merely affiliated with churches and other religious congregations?
• What are the practical consequences of the Court’s decision in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home for the ACA’s birth-control coverage requirements?

Date / Time: August 12, 2020

•   2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern
•   1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central
•   12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Mountain
•   11:00 am – 12:00 pm Pacific

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•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 5 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.
Closed-captioning available upon request

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Original Broadcast Date: August 12, 2020

Jeffrey Wohl | Partner, Employment Law Department

Jeffrey Wohl is a partner and chair of the Employment Law Department in the firm’s San Francisco office. Mr. Wohl represents major national and regional companies in high technology, biotechnology, financial services, retail, hospitality, corporate solutions, health care, logistics, and other industry sectors, in the areas of employment litigation and counseling, including individual and class action discrimination, wage-and-hour, wrongful discharge, and privacy cases. Mr. Wohl is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and has been named as one of the best employment lawyers in the Bay Area, California and the nation. He is a frequent speaker who has been featured at a wide range of programs for the American Bar Association, the National Employment Law Institute (for which he serves on its Advisory Board), the Society for Human Resources Management, Practicing Law Institute, California Continuing Education of the Bar, and other groups. Mr. Wohl serves as a judge pro tem with the San Francisco Superior Court and an accredited mediator with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Mr. Wohl also serves as a mediator for parties on a private basis. Mr. Wohl has served as a member of the Board of Directors of United Way Bay Area, a member of its Governance Committee, and its General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer. Mr. Wohl received an A.B. with highest honors from the University of California at Berkeley in 1977 and his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1980. Following graduation from law school, Mr. Wohl served as a law clerk to the Honorable Morey L. Sear, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. Prior to joining Paul Hastings, Mr. Wohl was a partner for many years at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he headed its San Francisco Employment Law Group and served for ten years as Orrick’s first General Counsel.

Adriana Simmons | Associate, Employment Law Department

Ms. Simmons is an associate in Paul Hasting’s Employment Law Department and is based in the firm’s New York office. Ms. Simmons represents both for-profit and not-for-profit employers in a wide range of federal and state employment litigation and non-litigation matters, from client advice and counseling regarding recent laws and their application as well as throughout mediation, arbitration, trial, and appeal.
Ms. Simmons received her law degree from The University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2019, where she served as Development Editor for the Journal of Constitutional Law and interned with the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015. Ms. Simmons is admitted to practice law in New York.

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I. Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue 2:00-2:15
a. Precedents before the decision
b. The decision
c. Future application of the decision

II. Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru 2:15-2:30
a. Precedents before the decision
b. The decision
c. Future application of the decision

III. Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania 2:30-2:45
a. Precedents before the decision
b. The decision
c. Practical consequences of the decision

IV. Audience questions and wrap-up 2:45-3:00