Updated at 7:25 p.m.
The Supreme Court's conservative majority signaled Wednesday that it is on the verge of carving out a giant exception to the nation's fair employment laws.
Before the court were two cases, both involving fifth grade teachers at parochial schools in California. One, a veteran of 16 years teaching at her school, contends her firing was a case of age discrimination. The other said she was fired after she told her superior that she had breast cancer and would need some time off.