Supreme Court to Weigh Religious Institutions' Leeway to Declare Employees Exempt From Federal Protections

A case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court could significantly alter how much freedom religious colleges have to skirt antidiscrimination laws in dealing with their employees.

At issue in the case is the somewhat ill-defined legal doctrine of "ministerial exception," which holds that the courts should not interfere with religious institutions' decisions regarding employees with religious duties, such as priests.

The Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear the case