Ninth Circuit Judges Diarmuid O’Scannlain and Andrew Kleinfeld agree that a non-profit group subject to a religious freedoms suit can hire and fire employees based on their religious beliefs without violating the Civil Rights Act. But the judges offer up separate opinions on why that’s so.
In an amended ruling today, the court delivers a two-paragraph, unsigned order affirming that the group, World Vision, didn’t violate the act when it canned two employees who disavowed the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. But for analysis of what test should be used in determining whether a faith-based humanitarian group is exempt from the act’s Title VII prohibition against religious discrimination, the court directs you to the two concurring -- and conflicting -- opinions by O’Scannlain and Kleinfeld.
For her part, Judge Marsha Berzon rejects both of their tests, saying she would stick with the line Congress drew on religious discrimination.