In one of the most important church-state cases in years, the justices recognized a "ministerial exception" to federal protections against job discrimination, a stance that had been adopted by several lower federal courts.
Wednesday's decision did not fully define who would be covered but suggested that any people connected to the religious mission of the institution, even with minimal related duties, would be covered.
"The interest of society in the enforcement of employment discrimination statutes is undoubtedly important," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. "But so too is the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission." (emphasis mine)