'Fulton v. Philadelphia': Religious Exemptions from Generally Applicable Laws [June 22, 2021] [open pdf - 724KB]
From the Document: "The Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision in 'Fulton v. City of Philadelphia' on June 17, 2021. In 'Fulton', a Catholic foster care agency raised religious objections to complying with Philadelphia's policies prohibiting contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected [hyperlink] the agency's claims, citing a 1990 case called 'Employment Division v. Smith'. Under 'Smith', a foundational case interpreting the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause, religious entities are usually not entitled to constitutional exemptions from neutral, generally applicable laws. On appeal, the agency [hyperlink] asked the Supreme Court to overrule 'Smith'. In a unanimous judgment [hyperlink], the Supreme Court ruled for the agency, but a majority of the Court declined to overrule 'Smith'. This Legal Sidebar discusses the Court's decision in this case, including the majority and concurring opinions, and discusses the implications of the decision for Congress."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10612
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/