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The Courts and How to Apply Hosanna-Tabor

Civil Procedure and the Ministerial Exception: Courts should approach the procedural questions left open by Hosanna-Tabor in light of the underlying justification for the ministerial exception. The exception reflects a longstanding constitutional limitation on the competence of courts to resolve “strictly and purely ecclesiastical” questions. To conclude that the exception operates as an affirmative defense does not alter this fundamental limitation on the authority of secular courts.

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