Supreme Court Justices hear arguments about work on Sundays

Apr 19, 2023, 8:00 PM

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson discusses the oral arguments made to the Supreme Court about work...

FILE - The Supreme Court building is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 10, 2023. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, about a case involving work on Sundays. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky).

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday of a case looking at the rights of religious leaders who wish to not work on Sundays.

The case centers around a man named Gerald Groff. He is a former employee with the U.S. Postal Service in Pennsylvania.

Groff had requested not to work on Sundays in order to attend church. Similarly, the Supreme Court rejected a case in 1977 in that religious leaders should be exempt from working on Sundays.

According to a CNN report, a lower court had previously ruled that allowing Groff to have Sundays off would create an “undue burden” on other employees who would have to pick up his shifts. In 2013, the USPS contracted with Amazon to deliver packages on Sundays. 

Ultimately, Groff quit his job in 2019.

Kelsey Dallas, who covers the Supreme Court and religious issues for the Deseret News, joined Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson on Wednesday to discuss Tuesday’s arguments.

Potential impact on ruling of work on Sundays

Matheson asked, “What did we hear in the case and any tipping of the hand in terms of what you expect moving forward?”

“I thought it was very interesting that oral arguments focused on the potential impact of the decision,” Dallas said. “Rather than the plight of the man at the center of the case.”

Dallas says the Justices spent Tuesday discussing the ramifications if they were to overturn the 1977 decision.

According to Dallas, the questions being pondered by the Justices were would it really make a difference? And would it hurt businesses? 

“And so, there was a lot of hand-wringing about the Supreme Court not being sure what good it could do in the long run,” she said.

Congress had many chances to act

According to Dallas, many of the Justices commented that Congress has had many opportunities to respond to the 1977 ruling. However, it has not done so.

As such, Dallas says many on the court were saying “this feels like you’re asking us to do Congress’ job and that feels inappropriate in a sense.”

Dallas also notes the two sides making arguments to the Justices were speaking the same language. She said the justices pointed that out and said it shouldn’t be that hard to come to an agreement.

“Of course, it is quite hard,” Dallas said. “Because they’re looking at an exact same situation with this postal worker, who feels like it is reasonable to have Sunday off. And the government saying no, that’s not reasonable.”

Listen to the entire segment.

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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Supreme Court Justices hear arguments about work on Sundays