SCOTUS: UC Hastings Law School Didn't Violate 1st Amendment
What do you get when you put "law school", "party", and "SCOTUS" together?
Yeah, maybe not that.
But in a landmark Supreme Court decision this week, in which UC Hastings Law
School was a party, SCOTUS ruled 5-4 in favor of the public law school's
decision not to grant recognition to a Christian student organization.
The Case: Christian Legal Society v. Martinez
You may recall that back in December 2009, the Supreme court granted certiorari to hear a case brought by the Christian Legal Society, a faith-based student organization with a chapter at UC Hastings. The student organization cried 1st Amendment foul when UC Hastings refused to grant it official student org status on campus.
UC Hastings defended its position pointing to the CLS requirement that that required voting members and club officers to sign a "Statement of Faith"--which included language specifying that "Christians should not engage in sexual conduct outside of a marriage between a man an a woman."
School officials saw this as discrimination against non-heterosexuals and those who do not espouse to the Christian faith. UC Hastings stated that the CLS requirement violated a school policy forbidding discrimination in its affiliated programs.
Ginsberg pens the decision, Alito the dissent.
Justice Ginsberg took to articulating the decision in which she stated "In accord with the District Court and the Court of Appeals, we reject CLS's First Amendment challenge. Compliance with Hastings' all-comers policy, we conclude, is a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral condition on access to the student-organization forum."
Ginsburg further concluded, "In requiring CLS--in common with all other student organizations -- to choose between welcoming all students and forgoing the benefits of official recognition, we hold, Hastings did not transgress constitutional limitations."
In the dissent, Justice Alito wrote ""The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express 'the thought that we hate'...Today's decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country's institutions of higher learning."
Those in favor.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Justice Stephen Breyer
Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Justice John Paul Stevens
Justice Anthony Kennedy
Those in dissent.
Justice Samuel Alito
Chief Justice John Roberts
Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Clarence Thomas
- Freedom of All Student Groups at Stake in CLS case at Supreme Court (FindLaw Writ)
- Can a Public Law School Constitutionally Require a Christian Student Group Not to Exclude Non-Christians and Gay Persons? The Supreme Court Will Decide (FindLaw Writ)
- More on the Supreme Court's CLS v. Martinez Case, Which Asks Whether a Public Law School Can Deny Funding and Recognition to a Student Christian Organization that Excludes Gay Students: A Response to Mr. Baylor (FindLaw Writ)
- UC Hastings Law School Student Group Heads to Supreme Court (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- "Most Insignificant Supreme Court Justice?" Believe It or Not, There is a Debate. (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Law School Admissions Minority Report (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
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