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SCOTUS Turns a Blind Eye to Religious Workplace Discrimination in New Ruling

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Teachers at religious schools in the U.S. have been dealt a major blow today after the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released a 7-2 ruling in their employers’ favor. Simply put: the ruling sides with court precedent that teachers at these institutions may not bring workplace discrimination complaints against their employers to court.

The two lawsuits were Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel. They will not move forward due to the “ministerial exception” and court precedent, which has held the First Amendment protects religious institutions from some workplace discrimination complaints.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s majority opinion. Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

“The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission,” Alito wrote. “Judicial review of the way in which religious schools discharge those responsibilities would undermine the independence of religious institutions in a way that the First Amendment does not tolerate.”

Sotomayor argued, “That simplistic approach has no basis in law and strips thousands of school teachers of their legal protections.”

Lambda Legal Senior Counsel and Law and Policy Director Jennifer C. Pizer said after the ruling, “Today, the Supreme Court opened a veritable Pandora’s Box that threatens the continued employment and financial security of thousands of teachers at religiously affiliated schools. While there is no serious dispute that top authorities at churches and religious schools are free to select those who lead worship services or teach the tenets of their faith, it stretches the term ‘minister’ beyond recognition to also include those whose jobs or duties have little to do with propagation of the faith.”

The question was whether the fired teachers performed enough religious duties to be considered “ministers” and could be exempt from federal discrimination laws.

Pizer added, “Teachers of secular subjects are not clergy by any reasonable understanding of the word. They should not be deemed clergy simply to shield their employers from liability for wrongful workplace practices. The ministerial exemption especially should not apply to strip protections from teachers with secular roles at large educational institutions that serve the entire general public, regardless of whether those institutions have some sort of religious ties.”

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$15 Minimum Wage Dealt a Blow – Not Allowed in COVID Relief Bill, Senate Parliamentarian Rules

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The Democrats’ plan, engineered by Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), to pass a nationwide $15 minimum wage cannot be achieved by including the legislation in the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday evening, CNBC reports.

Democrats intend to pass the relief bill via reconciliation, a method that would require just a simple majority.

Politico reported late last week Sen. Sanders was “confident” the $15 minimum wage could be achieved through the reconciliation process, adding that “President Joe Biden has not been as optimistic as the Vermont independent about the prospects of minimum wage working via reconciliation, though he supports a $15 minimum wage.”

“President Biden has promised to support a standalone bill to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, but it’s unlikely to get any Republican support,” Axios has also reported.

A $15 minimum wage would life 900,000 people out of poverty.

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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Democrats Pass LGBTQ Equality Act With Support of Just Three Republicans

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House Democrats have passed the historic LGBTQ Equality Act, legislation that expands the protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The vote was 224-206. Just three Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

President Joe Biden has said he wants to sign the legislation into law during his first 100 days. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will be in a position to make that possible, should all Democratic Senators support the bill. 60 votes will be needed under current filibuster rules.

The House also passed similar legislation in May of 2019, but then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote.

Some news outlets are characterizing the bill as offering “sweeping” protections, but contrary to what most Americans believe, LGBTQ people have no federal law offering them specific protections. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers appropriate, not “sweeping” protections.

Recent court decisions, including the Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock decision, have ruled the Civil Right Act applies to LGBTQ people, but the Equality Act will ensure these protections are realized.

In a sign of the further extremism of the Republican Party, the 2019 Equality Act passed with five more GOP votes than it did today.

Two Republicans who voted to pass the bill in 2019 voted against passing today’s bill.

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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Right Wingers Outraged Biden Hasn’t Delivered SOTU – Claim It Was Required by Feb. 20 – Capitol Police Issue Warning

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Right wingers on social media are spreading misinformation, falsely claiming President Joe Biden was required to deliver the State of the Union Address, with some claiming a February 20 deadline. Their false claims and the fact-checking responses caused “SOTU” to trend on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

The outrage comes on the same day acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told the House Appropriations Committee right wing extremists, which she called “militia” members, “have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members” of the House and Senate “as possible.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has not yet set a date for what would be a joint session of Congress. The President does not deliver a State of the Union address during his first year in office.

The February 20 claim, which is false, apparently originated or was made popular by this Facebook post, which initiated a USA Today fact check stating it is “false information.”

Despite the ignorance of the MAGA crowd and right wingers, the U.S. Constitution is clear, offering little in the way of expectations for an address to Congress.

Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 states the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

No date, mode, or even frequency is mandated. Earlier in U.S. history the President wrote Congress a letter.

Here’s a failed Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from New Jersey suggesting the Constitution requires a State of the Union Address. She claims she is “Asking on behalf of the Constitution.”

This MAGAite suggests President Biden is a “fraud,” and “unelected, illegitimate & totally unfit” because he hasn’t delivered a State of the Union address.

A Washington Times columnist falsely claiming President Biden can’t stand up long enough to deliver an address:

Former NRA spokesperson and pro-gun extremist thinks it was supposed to have been delivered “yesterday.”

“Conservative Christian”:

 

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