University of California Hastings College of the Law: Denial of Recognition to Christian Law School Group

Category: Religious Liberty
Schools: University of California

  • A basic freedom takes liberal hit

    July 10, 2010

    Ten years ago, the Supreme Court created a national furor in “Boy Scouts of America vs. James Dale” when it reversed a N.J.Supreme Court decision that ordered the Boy Scouts to reinstate an openly gay adult rejected as an assistant scoutmaster. At stake, despite this act of discrimination, ruled the U.S. Supreme Court, was the First Amendment’s right of “free expressive association.” To make freedom of speech, press and religion work, Americans have the right to freely associate to amplify their individual voices. This right is “crucial” in preventing the majority from imposing its views on groups with unpopular views, […]

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  • Fighting for Religious Freedom with FIRE

    June 30, 2010

    On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that damages the right of public university students to form student organizations dedicated to promoting and following certain views and beliefs, particularly those that are religious or political. In Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a narrow 5-4 majority upheld the University of California Hastings College of the Law’s denial of official recognition to the campus Christian Legal Society. CLS required its voting members and leaders to sign a statement of faith that outlined its own particular religious worldview because it wanted to ensure, unsurprisingly, that these students were faithful to its mission. […]

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  • New Venue for Anti-Bias Debate

    June 29, 2010

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday settled a key question about the anti-bias rules of public colleges and universities. Under the ruling, public colleges and universities may limit recognition to student groups that abide by anti-bias rules — even when the groups are religious and they object on religious grounds to some of the rules. The ruling rejected an appeal by the Christian Legal Society, which has sought at many public campuses to be recognized as a student group even though — in violation of many colleges’ anti-bias policies — it bars as members gay people and those who do not […]

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  • Supreme Court Decision on Law School’s Anti-Bias Policy May Have Limited Impact

    June 28, 2010

    by Peter Schmidt The Chronicle of Higher Education   A bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court held Monday that a California public law school did not violate the First Amendment in denying official recognition to a Christian student group that effectively excluded homosexual students from membership based on their beliefs and behaviors. But the parties involved in the case, as well as experts on student organizations, disagree over whether many colleges have policies similar enough to the one at issue in the case to be affected by the decision.   To read the full article, you must log in to The […]

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  • Free Association and the First Amendment

    April 16, 2010

    Can a public university force a Christian student group to accept as leaders students who explicitly reject core tenets of the group’s faith? On Monday the Supreme Court will entertain precisely this question-and the First Amendment right to freedom of association hangs in the balance. The facts in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez are straightforward. The Christian Legal Society (CLS), an evangelical Christian student group, accepts all students at its functions but requires voting members and leaders to sign a Statement of Faith. The statement endorses “biblical principles of sexual morality,” and it makes clear that a student who “advocates […]

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  • Conflicting Rights

    December 8, 2009

    Following years of conflicting lower court rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide one of the most contested legal questions in higher education today: whether public colleges can enforce anti-bias rules when religious student organizations seek recognition or funding. Both sides in the case before the court argue that they are defending students from discrimination. “Often university officials don’t like the religious groups and we see [colleges' anti-bias rules] as one more mechanism for keeping religious groups off campus,” said Kim Colby, a lawyer for the Christian Legal Society, which wants the right to organize chapters at […]

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  • A clash of rights

    September 17, 2007

    Public colleges’ anti-bias policies have been taking a beating in the courts in recent years. Various federal courts have said that the policies can’t be used to deny recognition to Christian student groups—even if those groups explicitly discriminate against those who are gay or who don’t share the faith of the organizations. Many lawyers who advise colleges, even some who deplore these rulings, have urged colleges to recognize that the force of their anti-bias policies has been severely weakened. Students’ First Amendment rights of freedom of religion and expression will end up trumping strong anti-bias principles, or so the emerging […]

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  • Debate Over North Carolina Religious Pluralism Law Continues

    July 22, 2014

    Four weeks after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that allows religious and political student groups at the state’s public colleges and universities to limit their leadership to students who are committed to the group’s mission or faith, the debate continues over whether this was the right step to take to protect student rights. Last week, William R. Toler relayed some of the arguments for and against the bill in an article for The Richmond County Daily Journal.

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  • North Carolina Governor Signs Bill Protecting Religious and Political Groups on Campus

    June 27, 2014

    On Wednesday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that will allow religious and political student groups at the state’s public colleges and universities to limit their leadership to students who are committed to the group’s mission or faith.

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  • Reflections on Student Groups and Freedom of Association from ‘Unlearning Liberty’

    June 18, 2014

    The New York Times recently reported that colleges across the country are withdrawing recognition from campus Christian student groups that require candidates for leadership positions to subscribe to their Christian beliefs. This trend is taking shape in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2010 case Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (PDF). That ruling held that the University of California Hastings College of the Law did not violate the First Amendment when it denied recognition to a Christian student group that required leadership candidates to affirm their belief in “biblical principles of sexual morality.”

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  • ‘NY Times’ on Lasting Impact of ‘CLS v. Martinez’

    June 10, 2014

    The New York Times’ Michael Paulson reviews the tension between student religious groups and college nondiscrimination policies in an article published today. I’m pleased to see front-page attention being paid to the fact that since the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, student religious groups are increasingly being forced off campus simply for requiring that group leaders actually share the group’s faith. As Paulson writes, student groups from Maine to California are being forced to either open their leadership ranks to students who don’t believe in the group’s tenets, or leave campus.

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  • ‘News & Observer’ Highlights Clash Between First Amendment and Nondiscrimination Policies

    February 17, 2014

    Some North Carolina universities have policies that explicitly allow student groups to limit active membership to those who share the core beliefs of the group, and, as FIRE has explained before, these policies are critically important for protecting students’ right to freely associate on campus. Unfortunately, not all North Carolina schools have such policies, and even universities that purport to protect freedom of association in this way have nevertheless attempted to suppress student groups under anti-discrimination policies. FIRE’s Robert Shibley helped author an article in Raleigh’s The News & Observer that detailed the problem—and a possible solution. The right to […]

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  • A Roundup of 2011’s Free Speech Case Law

    December 28, 2011

    While FIRE has won numerous victories this year in working to protect individual rights on college campuses, 2011 was a mixed year for the defense of students’ rights by the courts. Importantly, this year highlighted divergent theories of the First Amendment rights of students off campus. While some courts have held that schools are limited by the First Amendment in what they can regulate off campus, other courts this year held that things students say off campus can have almost unlimited disciplinary consequences on campus. This is a troubling trend, outlined in several cases below. In June, the United States […]

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  • Reaping What Was Sowed by the Supreme Court in ‘Martinez’, Ninth Circuit’s Decision in ‘Alpha Delta’ is a Worrying One for Freedom of Association

    August 10, 2011

    Last week, Will covered the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s troublesome ruling (PDF) in Alpha Delta v. Reed, which upheld the decision of San Diego State University (SDSU) to deny official recognition to two student groups due to the groups’ requirement that members share their religious beliefs. SDSU argued that denial of recognition was justified because the student groups, a Christian fraternity and sorority, violated the university’s non-discrimination policy by requiring members to regularly attend church and demonstrate “personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord” (in the case of the sorority), and to “sincerely […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: Victory for Freedom of Association at Central Michigan University

    April 18, 2011

    In April 2007, FIRE won an important victory when Central Michigan University (CMU) reversed a policy banning ideological and political groups from “discriminating” on the basis of “political persuasion.” The case holds important lessons for freedom of association on campus that remain particularly relevant in light of last year’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. The controversy at CMU began with a student effort to derecognize the school’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) because of the group’s unpopular views. When this effort failed, students began to disrupt YAF meetings and created a Facebook group […]

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  • Extensive Article on Controversy Over Campus Christian Groups in ‘Deseret News’

    April 14, 2011

    Michael De Groote of the Deseret News (Salt Lake City) has penned an extensive article about the controversy over Christian groups on campus and the Supreme Court’s decision last summer in CLS v. Martinez. The article includes a map from FIRE data as well as quotes from Greg and Adam. Check it out here.

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  • Arizona Bill Would Allow Student Organizations to Exercise Expressive Association

    April 6, 2011

    Last month, House Bill 2625 passed both houses of the Arizona state legislature and is now awaiting the governor’s signature. The bill contains a provision that would require universities to allow religious and political student organizations to select members and leadership based on a commitment to the organization’s mission. This provision appears to be enacted in response to last year’s Supreme Court decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, which held that universities may constitutionally prohibit student organizations from denying membership to any interested student. As we have argued extensively (and as I contend in scholarship that will soon be […]

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  • The Year of ‘Christian Legal Society v. Martinez’

    December 22, 2010

    From the start, 2010 was the year of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. Perhaps more than any other case this year, developments surrounding Martinez occupied the docket of the Supreme Court, the time of FIRE staffers, and the inquiring mind of yours truly. FIRE had high hopes for Martinez. On January 1, we announced our excitement about the Supreme Court’s acceptance of the case, on certiorari to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We believed that the Supreme Court would vindicate the First Amendment right to freedom of association for student groups at public universities. At the appellate level, the […]

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  • Greg Interviewed about the Dangerous Likelihood of Colleges Misinterpreting ‘CLS v. Martinez’

    August 19, 2010

    This June, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the University of California Hastings College of the Law’s “all comers” policy in the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. According to this ruling, a college can require all student groups to accept all prospective members and allow them to become voting members and leaders, even if they are fully antagonistic toward the group’s mission. Unfortunately, the negative effects of the Martinez decision will likely be felt not just at Hastings, but at universities across the nation, as the Heartland Institute’s Ben Boychuk reports in School Reform News. Boychuk […]

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  • Student Groups Are in Danger — Help FIRE Defend Them!

    August 17, 2010

    Last week, I e-mailed FIRE’s supporters about the obstacles FIRE faces following the Supreme Court’s misguided decision in CLS v. Martinez. Today, I want to share the same message with you, our loyal Torch readers: Hopefully by now you have received my letter from last month explaining the considerable obstacle the Supreme Court placed in the way of FIRE’s mission. (If you haven’t, you can listen to me talk about these recent developments with Ben Boychuk of the Heartland Institute in this podcast.) On June 28, the Court delivered a severe blow to freedom of association and religious liberty on […]

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  • Podcast: Greg Discusses ‘CLS v. Martinez’ with School Reform News

    August 9, 2010

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff sat down recently with Ben Boychuk, Managing Editor of the Heartland Institute’s School Reform News, to discuss the Supreme Court’s disappointing ruling in CLS v. Martinez. Their conversation is now available as a free podcast, which you can download here (mp3).

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  • Los Angeles College District Taken to Task for Misconstruing ‘Martinez’

    July 27, 2010

    Last week, I blogged about the threat of universities opportunistically mischaracterizing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez to justify their unconstitutional speech codes. Before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in the speech code case of Lopez v. Candaele, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) has already done just that by filing a supplemental letter contending that Martinez requires courts to “defer to decisions of educational administrators, even in the free speech context and even in higher education.” The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which represents the plaintiff in Lopez, submitted its response to LACCD’s letter last […]

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  • Greg Baylor on the CFN Conference ‘Philosophy’ Panel

    July 22, 2010

    On Tuesday, I wrote a summary of what students experienced at the Third Annual Campus Freedom Network Conference. The same day, Greg Baylor, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, posted an excellent recounting of the “Philosophical and Practical Underpinnings of Academic Liberty” panel at the conference. He begins by noting Adam’s explanation of the utilitarian case for free speech drawn from John Stuart Mill’s work, then describes the “deontological” claim for free speech—that people have an inherent right to speak and listen even if the speech does not necessarily have any positive effect. This view is expressed in the Declaration […]

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  • Attention, University Counsel: Narrow Holding in ‘Martinez’ Is Irrelevant to Speech Code Cases

    July 21, 2010

    Well, that didn’t take long. In an unfortunate but not unexpected development, universities have already begun misguided attempts to exploit the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez by citing it out of context to justify their unconstitutional speech codes. In a filing with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last Thursday, attorneys representing the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) in the case of Lopez v. Candaele cited Martinez for the broad proposition that courts must “defer to decisions of educational administrators, even in the free speech context and even in higher […]

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  • KC Johnson on What Comes After ‘CLS v. Martinez’

    July 12, 2010

    On Minding the Campus, FIRE friend and Brooklyn College professor KC Johnson asks an important question: Now that the Supreme Court has decided that an all-comers policy for student group membership is constitutionally acceptable, cui bono? Who benefits from this change? If you have been following FIRE for any length of time, I bet you can guess the answer: The “all-comers” policy has satisfied the Supreme Court. But from an educational standpoint, does it make any sense? What purpose is served by a college or university creating an official Democratic club whose membership is open to unabashed defenders of George […]

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  • Nat Hentoff: Supreme Court Got ‘Martinez’ Wrong

    July 9, 2010

    Nat Hentoff, an ardent, principled defender of the First Amendment and a member of FIRE’s Board of Advisors, has written a column about how last week’s Christian Legal Society v. Martinez Supreme Court decision negatively impacts the First Amendment right to free association. Hentoff laments the Court’s “embrace of political correctness” in denying the Christian Legal Society (CLS) at UC Hastings College of the Law the right to set belief-based parameters for who can be a voting member or leader of the group. The Court had previously affirmed a right to set such parameters in Boy Scouts of America v. […]

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  • Cathy Young on Why ‘Martinez’ is a Dangerous Precedent

    July 7, 2010

    On Reason‘s website, Cathy Young has a column about why the Supreme Court’s decision last week in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez could “set a dangerous precedent in sacrificing freedom for equality’s sake.” As Torch readers remember from our posts last week, the Supreme Court in Martinez upheld the University of California Hastings College of the Law’s denial of official recognition to the Christian Legal Society. The denial was due to a requirement by CLS that all voting members and leaders sign a statement of faith, which Hastings said was in violation of an “all-comers” policy that mandated that all […]

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  • In ‘Chronicle’ Article, Higher Education Experts Disavow the Notion that University Policies Are Safe After ‘Martinez’

    July 2, 2010

    An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the fact that the Supreme Court’s decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez probably has narrow applicability because it does not directly address the constitutionality of most universities’ policies, affirming what FIRE and others have been saying in response to the Court’s decision. Citing legal experts in the field of higher education law, the Chronicle article posits that Martinez is unlikely to resolve the question of whether public colleges may deny recognition, under the most common types of nondiscrimination policies, to student groups that wish to limit membership and leadership to those […]

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  • ‘Wall Street Journal’ and ‘L.A. Times’ Blast Supreme Court’s Decision in ‘CLS v. Martinez’

    July 2, 2010

    This week, both The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times published editorials echoing FIRE’s concerns about the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times eloquently made the case for freedom of association and succinctly challenged the wisdom of the “all-comers policy” the Court deemed constitutional: The best argument against the policy is that it actually undermines diversity by making every student group potentially interchangeable in its membership. A better way to promote diversity of viewpoints is to allow groups on campus to define their beliefs — including religious beliefs — […]

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  • The ‘Subsidy’ Is Not the Issue: The Incorrect Framing of ‘CLS v. Martinez’

    July 1, 2010

    One of the more common reactions in favor of the Supreme Court’s decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez—that a public university need not subsidize student groups that limit membership based on views that the university opposes—has intuitive appeal, but is antithetical to First Amendment principles. Those who agree with the Court’s decision, which upheld a public university’s requirement that all student groups accept all members, usually trumpet one justification for the ruling: They recognize that private groups may exercise their right of expressive association to exclude certain members, but argue that a public university need not “subsidize” this type […]

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  • SPLC’s Frank LoMonte Asks: How Might ‘CLS v. Martinez’ Affect Student Press?

    July 1, 2010

    The Student Press Law Center’s (SPLC’s) Adam Goldstein published a scathing, must-read assessment over at The Huffington Post of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding the University of California Hastings College of the Law’s denial of official recognition to the Christian Legal Society (CLS) and affirming the constitutionality of Hastings’ all-comers policy for student organizations. Goldstein stated that “the rationale of this opinion could end up doing more violence to student expression rights than any decision in the last 22 years.” Now, in a separate blog entry, SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte more directly examines the threat to SPLC’s constituency: […]

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  • Dispute Over Scope of Hastings Policy Underscores Narrowness of ‘Martinez’ Decision

    June 30, 2010

    Muddying any straightforward understanding of Monday’s Supreme Court decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez is the fact that there were, at various times, at least two distinct policies at issue at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. The majority opinion, authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, addressed Hastings’ “all comers” policy, whereas the dissent, written by Justice Samuel Alito, pointed out that CLS was initially punished under Hastings’ nondiscrimination policy. This confusion in the record, which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will have to sort out on remand, renders the Supreme Court’s decision a narrow […]

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  • In ‘Martinez,’ Justice Ginsburg Disregards Serious Threat of Hostile Takeovers

    June 29, 2010

    As FIRE detailed in yesterday’s press release, the Supreme Court in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez upheld the University of California Hastings College of the Law’s denial of Registered Student Organization (RSO) status to the Christian Legal Society because the student group did not follow the school’s “all-comers” policy. This all-comers policy—which we’ll discuss further in a forthcoming blog post—requires student groups to open their membership to all students in order to receive RSO status, no matter how antipathetic a particular student’s views are to those of the group. This means that at Hastings, CLS, a distinctly Christian group, must […]

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  • Law Professor Richard Epstein Weighs in on ‘CLS v. Martinez’

    June 29, 2010

    FIRE has already provided one summary of the preliminary reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, and the commentary continues to flow. Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago and the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law Designate at New York University Law School, served as counsel of record for the libertarian Cato Institute’s amicus brief in support of CLS. Today, Professor Epstein adds his critical take on the decision in a column for Forbes. Regarding the narrow yet perilous path the Court charted […]

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  • First Reactions to ‘CLS v. Martinez’

    June 28, 2010

    Reactions to today’s Supreme Court decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez have lit up the Web. The Chronicle of Higher Education and InsideHigherEd.com have posted articles detailing the case, and Reason‘s Jacob Sullum and the Cato Institute’s Roger Pilon have supplied summaries of the ruling. For our part, here’s FIRE President Greg Lukianoff’s response from our press release: “FIRE is deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. For all of the reasons stated in our brief, we believe the practical effect of this case will be the derecognition of devoutly religious groups-especially evangelical […]

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  • Kennedy’s Concurrence in ‘Martinez’ Highlights Court’s Misguided Views on Role of Student Organizations

    June 28, 2010

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, a relative moderate on the Supreme Court and a swing vote in many 5-4 decisions, was the only non-liberal Justice to join the majority opinion in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. He was most likely the decisive vote in today’s decision. He was the Justice to whom the parties and the other Justices likely were trying to appeal, and therefore his opinion arguably matters most. Justice Kennedy’s brief concurrence illuminates why he ultimately decided that the First Amendment right to expressive association does not bar the University of California Hastings College of the Law from requiring student […]

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  • In ‘CLS v. Martinez’ Ruling, Sharply Divided Supreme Court Undermines Freedom of Association on Campus

    June 28, 2010

    WASHINGTON, June 28, 2010—In a blow to freedom of association and religious liberty on campus, a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a public university may require its student organizations to admit any student as a voting member or officer, regardless of whether that student openly disagrees with or is even hostile to the group’s fundamental beliefs. “FIRE is deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. For all of the reasons stated in our brief, we believe the practical effect of this case will be the derecognition of devoutly religious groups—especially evangelical […]

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  • Supreme Court Decision in ‘CLS v. Martinez’ Expected Monday

    June 25, 2010

    The Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez on Monday, the last day of the Court’s current term. The First Amendment right to freedom of expressive association on our nation’s public college campuses hangs in the balance. As Torch readers will remember, the case concerns the University of California Hastings College of the Law’s denial of official recognition to the Christian Legal Society (CLS) due to the student group’s requirement that voting members and those holding leadership positions sign a “Statement of Faith” indicating their support for the group’s core tenets. The group’s statement posits that “[a] person who […]

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  • Supreme Court Oral Argument in ‘CLS v. Martinez,’ While Contentious, Transcended Ideology on Key Points

    April 20, 2010

    The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, the highly anticipated case concerning whether student organizations have a First Amendment right to exclude those who disagree with their beliefs from voting membership and leadership positions. The oral argument grappled with the tension between students’ freedom of association and a public university’s desire to create a forum where students do not discriminate on the basis of status or belief. These weighty issues inspired college and law students to camp out in line with unprecedented commitment in order to attend the argument, due to the Supreme Court’s […]

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  • After Media Weighs In, Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in ‘CLS v. Martinez’

    April 19, 2010

    This morning, the Supreme Court returned from its April recess to hear oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a crucial case for the First Amendment right of freedom of expressive association on campus. As frequent Torch readers will already know, we have followed the case closely, and FIRE was joined by Students for Liberty in filing an amici curiae brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of petitioner Christian Legal Society back in February. Because of the weighty constitutional questions Christian Legal Society v. Martinez presents to the high court, the case has garnered significant media attention from […]

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  • FIRE Chairman Harvey Silverglate in the ‘Wall Street Journal’

    April 16, 2010

    FIRE Co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate has written an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal tackling the First Amendment issues at stake in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, which goes before the high court on Monday. Harvey asks: “Can a public university force a Christian student group to accept as leaders students who explicitly reject core tenets of the group’s faith? On Monday the Supreme Court will entertain precisely this question—and the First Amendment right to freedom of association hangs in the balance.” In February, Harvey submitted the amici brief that FIRE and national student group […]

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  • ‘CLS v. Martinez’ Highlights Flaws in Universities’ Expansive Understanding of ‘Discrimination’

    March 23, 2010

    The upcoming Supreme Court case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez highlights the fact that universities’ expansive understanding of “discrimination” erodes speech and associational rights. As society increasingly likens invidious discrimination on the basis of immutable characteristics like race, gender, or disability to discrimination on the basis of belief or viewpoint, we lose our ability to make critical judgments necessary to develop and express our individuality and beliefs. This problem has certainly manifested itself on college campuses, and student groups at University of California Hastings College of the Law (where Martinez arose) and elsewhere have suffered as a result in […]

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  • American Council on Education’s Supreme Court Brief Gets It Wrong on ‘Martinez’

    March 17, 2010

    The American Council on Education (ACE) and a coalition of other higher education organizations filed an amici curiae brief on Monday (.PDF) on behalf of University of California Hastings College of the Law in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, the upcoming Supreme Court case for which FIRE filed its own amici brief in February with Students for Liberty on behalf of the Christian Legal Society (CLS). Unfortunately, the ACE brief advances a number of arguments for upholding the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in favor of Hastings that are dangerous, misleading, and plain wrong. It also mischaracterizes key arguments made […]

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  • ‘Christian Legal Society v. Martinez’ Case on CPNLive.com

    February 12, 2010

    Last night, Samantha Harris appeared on the Talk to Solomon show on CPNLive.com to discuss Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a case before the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the University of California Hastings College of the Law‘s refusal to recognize the Christian Legal Society (CLS) as a registered student group. Samantha answered questions about the Ninth Circuit’s decision to allow Hastings to require all student groups to accept “all comers” as voting members and about FIRE’s amicus brief in the case. As Will said in our press release last week, a decision by the Court to uphold […]

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  • ‘Cornell Daily Sun’ Explores Important Freedom of Association Issue, Previews Upcoming Supreme Court Decision in ‘Martinez’

    January 20, 2010

    An article in yesterday’s Cornell Daily Sun, a student newspaper at Cornell University, discusses the conflict between student organizations’ freedom of association and their schools’ nondiscrimination policies that has been at issue on many college campuses in recent years. Sun reporter Dani Neuharth-Keusch discusses the issue as it relates to an episode right on Cornell’s campus last year as well as the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, for which FIRE will be submitting an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief. We’re pleased to see the Sun pay such close attention to Martinez and the […]

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  • 2009′s Struggle for Freedom of Association on Campus to be Resolved by Supreme Court in 2010

    January 1, 2010

    As FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, perhaps the most exciting thing to me about the New Year is the fact that in 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States has the opportunity to protect the First Amendment freedom of association rights enjoyed by student groups at public colleges and universities. By agreeing to hear the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez this spring, our nation’s highest court has promised to definitively answer important questions about the First Amendment’s protection of the right to freedom of expressive association on public college campuses. Christian Legal Society v. Martinez is the latest in a […]

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  • Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Hastings Law School Case; Right to Expressive Association on Campus Hangs in the Balance

    December 7, 2009

    Today, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, an appeal of a March 2009 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejecting a Christian student group’s constitutional challenge of the University of California at Hastings Law School’s nondiscrimination policy. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling acknowledged that the school’s policy requires student groups to “accept all comers as voting members even if those individuals disagree with the mission of the group” in order to gain official recognition from the school, but held that these “conditions on recognition are therefore […]

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  • University of Montana Christian Legal Society Files Suit

    January 2, 2008

    Yet another university has impermissibly denied recognition and student fees to the Christian Legal Society (CLS) because of CLS’ requirement that its voting members and officers ascribe to a Statement of Faith regulating, among other things, sexual behavior outside of marriage. On December 14, the CLS chapter at the University of Montana School of Law (CLS-UM) filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the law school’s denial of recognition to the organization violated the group’s First Amendment rights to free association, free speech, and the free exercise of religion. The facts of the case are familiar—over the last several years, they […]

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  • Choosing Their Flock

    January 28, 2005

    In the fall of 2003, two law students at Ohio State University’s main campus complained to the administration that the campus chapter of the Christian Legal Society, a student group, was violating the institution’s nondiscrimination rules. Those rules stated that all officially recognized student organizations – which are eligible to use meeting rooms and receive university funds – could not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, and a number of other factors. Recognized student groups each had to sign a form promising to respect those requirements. Yet the two students said the society would not let them join because […]

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