by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

The Catholic Bishop Case

§ 8.12.06
Key Point 8-12.06. In the Catholic Bishop case the United States Supreme Court ruled that the National Labor Relations Act did not apply to church-affiliated schools. The court applied the following test, known as the Catholic Bishop test: First, determine if the application of the NLRA to a religious organization would give rise to serious constitutional questions under the First Amendment. Second, if a serious constitutional question would arise, then the NLRA cannot be applied without a showing of an "affirmative intention of the Congress clearly expressed" that it does apply. Third, if serious constitutional questions would not arise, then no inquiry is necessary as to whether Congress clearly expressed an intention for the law to apply. This test has been applied by some courts in assessing the applicability of other federal employment laws to churches.

In a 1979 case the United ...

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