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Monday morning marked a huge step forward for church-based organizations. The Supreme Court just ruled that religious organizations that run nonprofits like hospitals are victim to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) because they’re part of a non-exempt “church plan.” Organizations like Saint Peter’s Healthcare System are over the moon about the Supreme Court’s pro-church ruling. Learn more about this step forward below.
ERISA was enacted in 1974 as part of a federal statute that protects workers and ensures they get a promised pension plan. Now they do not get that guarantee if the pension plan is established by the government or a church.
The former and current employees who brought their case to the Supreme Court argued that their pension plans were not backed by the church but the health care systems they work for. They claimed that the church had nothing to do with what they do on a day-to-day basis in the hospital – the Supreme Court disagreed.
The ACLU called the case a violation of the establishment clause because it favors religious employees over the rights of the employees.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously 8-0 that any pension plan administered by an organization controlled or associated with a church gets the “church plan”. This is good news for churches but not so good news for employees of these organizations.
Justice Neil Gorsuch did not participate in his first big ruling on the Supreme Court.
Although she voted in favor of the statute, Justice Sonia Sotomayor is “troubled” because the church organizations of today are nothing like the ones back when the law was written.
Readers of the Independent Journal Review sent in their responses to the ruling. Here is what America is saying:
“Still waiting for Goresuch to make his first vote. Will he side with Chump or won’t he. Smart money says he goes against Chump first chance he gets.”
In response Arthur Glen wrote, “I have to wonder, honestly… Do you somehow think you’re being claver by calling him “Chump”? The fact that you used it twice, in an attempt to draw attention to it, tells me that you really do think it’s clever. A little sad, actually.”
“perhaps the reason he didn’t vote on this case is because he hadn’t sat through the majority, if any , of the arguments thus rendering him incapable of making an informed ruling. To me that shows judicial restraint something sorely missing from many left leaning jurists. As to the hope this means he will torpedo Trump i think you sirs are deluding yourselves,” wrote one educated reader.
Neil Gorsuch was preceded by Antonin Scalia and was nominated by Donald Trump. He is currently 49 years old and was born in Denver, Colorado. He is a registered Republican and went to school at Columbia University, Harvard University and the University College at Oxford. He is married and has two children.
What do you think about this ruling? Did the Supreme Court get it right?
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