Seattle's Union Gospel Mission v. Woods

Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission was sued by an applicant for a lawyer position with its legal aid clinic who admitted that he did not agree with the Mission’s religious beliefs. The Mission won in the state trial court based on a state law exemption for religious nonprofits and any employer, religious or secular, with fewer than eight employees from the requirements of the state nondiscrimination law. The Washington Supreme Court did not apply the statute as written and instead remanded the case for the trial court to determine whether the lawyer position fell within the ministerial exception. The Mission filed a cert petition in the United States Supreme Court.

CLS filed an amicus brief in support of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission to hire staff that agrees with its religious mission and beliefs.

On March 21, 2022, the Supreme Court declined to review the case. Two justices, Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas, agreed with the decision not to hear the case at this stage but said that “the day may soon come” when the court needs to confront the issue the case presents."