Skip to Main Content

Ronald Cluett Comments on Church Plan Supreme Court Decision

June 12, 2017, Pensions & Investments

Sponsors of church-related pension plans are celebrating a Supreme Court decision upholding their right to be exempt from federal pension rules, but participant advocates vow to continue challenging them on other legal points and in new venues, including state courts.

. . .

“The court did not decide whether the plans involved in the cases before it are maintained by the type of organization envisioned by Congress when it enacted the law,” said Karen Ferguson, director of the Pension Rights Center in Washington. Justice Elena Kagan's opinion held a footnote that the question of direct association with a church was not before the court.

. . .

“There are a lot of other things that are often significant. Those questions were not before the court and the court did not answer them,” said Ronald Cluett, of counsel to tax law firm Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, who specializes in employee benefits compliance. “I think that the people who did not prevail will seek other ways,” including scrutinizing how closely plan sponsors are affiliated with churches, and how the benefits committees are structured, he said.

For the full article, please visit Pensions & Investments’ website.

Excerpt taken from the article “More Challenges Promised Despite Church-Plan Victory” by Hazel Bradford for Pensions & Investments.


About Caplin & Drysdale
Having celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 2014, Caplin & Drysdale continues to be a leading provider of legal services to corporations, individuals, and nonprofits throughout the United States and around the world. We are also privileged to serve as legal advisors to accounting firms, financial institutions, law firms, and other professional services organizations.

The firm's reputation over the years has earned us the trust and respect of clients, industry peers, and government agencies. Moreover, clients rely on our broad knowledge of the law and our keen insights into their business concerns and personal interests. Our lawyers' strong tactical and problem-solving skills -- combined with substantial experience handling a variety of complex, high stakes, matters in a boutique environment -- make us one the nation's most distinctive law firms.

With offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., Caplin & Drysdale's core practice areas include:
For more information, please visit us at
Washington, DC Office:
One Thomas Circle NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
New York, NY Office:
600 Lexington Avenue
21st Floor
New York, NY 10022


This communication does not provide legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with you or any other reader. If you require legal guidance in any specific situation, you should engage a qualified lawyer for that purpose. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Attorney Advertising
It is possible that under the laws, rules, or regulations of certain jurisdictions, this may be construed as an advertisement or solicitation.
© 2020 Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered
All Rights Reserved.

Related Practice Area(s)