Courts can look at lawsuits against church-based schools

DETROIT (AP) – The Michigan Supreme Court says the First Amendment doesn’t automatically give a legal shield to church-based schools in lawsuits over their decisions.

In a unanimous opinion, the state’s top court says lower courts can have jurisdiction and hear disputes.

The court ruled Tuesday in the case of a dyslexic student who was rejected by Notre Dame Preparatory School in Pontiac. She claims the school illegally discriminated against her.

The Michigan appeals court said an Oakland County judge had no authority to even consider the allegations. The Supreme Court overturned that decision, although it also said the school still might have religious liberty defenses.

The case now is going back to the appeals court for a look at whether a disability civil rights law applies to Notre Dame Prep.

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