The Second Circuit court has said that a hospital in New York is absolutely allowed to discriminate against patients if they choose, because the court says that it is within their religious to discriminate against others. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Peter Mougey discuss this.


Mike Papantonio: The second circuit court has said a hospital in New York is absolutely allowed to discriminate if they want to discriminate, because the court says that it’s within their religious right to discriminate in certain situations. What is the certain situation that the court said-

Peter Mougey: It’s called a ministerial exception, so essentially, it’s a hospital that has, we’ve all seen them at Catholic hospitals, the Methodist hospitals. In this case, it was a Methodist hospital. It was a preacher, and so the hospitals can promote people from their own religious sects, whether Methodist, Catholic, over other people. The protection about race and religion in the workplace don’t necessarily apply.

This exception swallows it up and says, “Yeah, you can promote Methodists in a Methodist hospital. You can promote Catholics in a Catholic hospital.” This pastor brought suit and said, “You’re discriminating against me,” and it was dismissed.

Mike Papantonio: Well, interesting. Supreme Court says you can do it. The Supreme Court says you’re able to discriminate. It’s called a ministerial right, and in the ministerial right, the way it works is they have an exemption. They have total exemption on this discrimination.

Peter Mougey: Bad facts, bad law. The knock on this decision was that they interpret it too broadly, but this was a minister out of the Department of Pastoral Care and is exactly what it was designed to do. The commentary on this case was the exception was too broad.

Mike Papantonio: Minsters cannot bring employment discrimination claims against a religious organization that employs them. That’s the standard of law right now. To get there, from a standpoint of a court saying, “We’re going to make an exception for discrimination,” a lot of political input has to come there, and you can imagine what the church did to accomplish this.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.