Supreme Court Sides with UC in Discrimination Case

CHRISTIAN LEGAL SOC. CHAPTER OF UNIV. OF CAL., HASTINGS COLLEGE OF LAW v. MARTINEZ »



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The University of California did not violate the Constitution when it refused to give official recognition and state funds to a student group that barred homosexuals from joining, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today.

In a 5-4 vote, the court turned down an appeal by the Christian Legal Society, which had sued UC Hastings Law School in San Francisco after its petition to become a "Registered Student Organization" was denied.

The law school's administration said the club's bylaws did not comply with the school's nondiscrimination policy because the club barred students based on religion and sexual orientation.

If granted approval, the club would have been able to receive financial assistance from the school, place announcements in a campus newsletter and use the law school's logo, among other benefits.

The group appealed the denial, stating the nondiscrimination policy violated the club's First Amendment right to free association. However the court ruled that the policy is "a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral condition on access to the student-organization forum."

"CLS, it bears emphasis, seeks not parity with other organizations, but a preferential exemption from Hastings' policy," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said in the majority opinion. "The First Amendment shields CLS against state prohibition of the organization's expressive activity, however exclusionary that activity may be. But CLS enjoys no constitutional right to state subvention of its selectivity."

Ginsburg was joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens and Anthony Kennedy.

Justice Samuel Alito authored a dissenting opinion - joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas.

"Our proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express 'the thought that we hate,'" Alito said. "Today's decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom of expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country's institutions of higher learning."

Tags: UC HASTINGS COLLEGE OF LAW, UC HASTINGS, CHRISTIAN LEGAL SOCIETY, US SUPREME COURT


Javier Panzar is the news editor. Contact him at [email protected]



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