Cases & Deals

Amici-professors' writings cited frequently in Second Circuit decision in Establishment Clause case

Clients Laycock, Douglas; McConnell, Michael W.; Berg, Thomas C.; Esbeck, Carl H.; Garnett, Richard W.; Horwitz, Paul; and Inazu, John D.

Jones Day submitted an amicus brief in support of Defendants-Appellees on behalf of a group of law professors in an appeal concerning the interpretation of the "ministerial" exception to the Establishment Clause and its application to the firing of a lay principal of a school run by the New York Archdiocese. This was the first decision in the Second Circuit applying this exception since the Supreme Court's decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. v. E.E.O.C., 132 S. Ct. 694, 707 (2012), which explicitly recognized the ministerial exception.

This amicus brief provided the court with a historical and doctrinal perspective of the "ministerial exception," its application in this dispute, and a response to amicus briefs submitted in support of the appellant. In a thorough published decision, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court, extensively citing the writings of the amici-professors as highlighted in the amicus brief.

The professors, who are leaders in the field of the Establishment Clause, include Douglas Laycock, of University of Virginia School of Law; Michael W. McConnell, of Stanford Law School; Thomas C. Berg, of St. Thomas School of Law; Carl H. Esbeck, of University of Missouri School of Law; Richard W. Garnett, of Notre Dame Law School; Paul Horwitz, of University of Alabama School of Law; and John D. Inazu, of Washington University School of Law. Each holds a named endowed chair at their respective universities.

Fratello v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, No. 16-1271, 2017 WL 2989706 (2d Cir. July 14, 2017)