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Granted, victory has a thousand fathers, but call me a proud papa anyway

January 11, 2012

The US Supreme Court has just decided the most important religious liberty case it has considered in some decades. And it decided the case correctly. And unanimously.

Hosanna-Tabor concerned the right of religious bodies to determine who qualifies as “ministers” in such bodies and to engage or dismiss such ministers substantially in accord with internal religious discipline, not secular employment law. The potential of this case, if wrongly decided, to curtail the freedom of religious groups to govern themselves was enormous. Now, Deo gratias, scenarios of what things could have looked like had the Court ruled the other way can be filed under “academic exercises” instead of “contingency plans”.

Now comes the proud papa part. Yours truly had a very small hand in it.

Last June (just when my computer crashed!) I was asked to contribute to an amicus brief of Religious Tribunal Experts on behalf of plaintiffs. Trying to write in Notepad (the only program that still worked on my machine), I wrote the RTE section on Catholic canon law over several days, while others contributed sections from their faith traditions. In turn, the RTE brief joined many other filings in the case.  It was a very rewarding experience, and again, my congrats to the folks at Wiley Rein (Washington DC) who developed the brief and, by the way, won a “Brief of the Week” commendation from the National Law Journal for their fine work.

Te Deum laudamus!

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