In Tucker v. Faith Bible Chapel International, 36 F.4th 1021, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 15605 (10th Cir. June 7, 2022), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held in a 2-1 decision that it lacked 10th Circuit Spotlightjurisdiction to consider, on interlocutory appeal, orders preliminarily denying a religious employer summary judgment on the “ministerial exception” defense to Title VII racial discrimination claims, because a jury must first resolve genuine issues of disputed fact. The court reasoned that such orders are not analogous to qualified immunity defenses, do not conclusively determine the disputed question of minister status, and can be effectively reviewed and corrected through an appeal after final judgment. Id. at *52-54.

Procedural Background

Faith Christian Academy is a religiously affiliated K-12 school. Id. at *6. Faith Christian hired Tucker to teach high school science. Id. Later, Tucker also held the dual title of Director of Student Life and chaplain, a position which involved planning weekly Chapel Meetings. Id.