In a surprising unanimous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, all nine justices ruled the government has no right to tell a religious organization what ministerial employees it can hire and fire.
The case involved Cheryl Perich, a teacher fired by the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Redford, Mich.
Perich sued the school after she was fired, claiming discrimination.
However, the justices all backed up what's known as the "ministerial exemption," which protects religious employers.
Attorney Douglas Laycock represented the church before the high court.
"Disputes between ministers and their churches -- if there's anything that's covered by separation of church and state, this is it. These cases do not belong in the civil courts," he said.
"The church must be free to choose those who guide it on its way," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court's opinion.