CHRISTIAN LEGAL SOCIETY CHAPTER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, HASTINGS COLLEGE OF THE LAW, AKA HASTINGS CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP v. LEO P. MARTINEZ et al. | The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

CHRISTIAN LEGAL SOCIETY CHAPTER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, HASTINGS COLLEGE OF THE LAW, AKA HASTINGS CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP v. LEO P. MARTINEZ et al.

Supreme Court Cases

561 U.S. 661 (2010)

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Case Overview

Action

Affirmed (includes modified). Petitioning party did not receive a favorable disposition.

Facts/Syllabus

Respondent Hastings College of the Law (Hastings), a school within the University of California public-school system, denied “Registered Student Organization” (RSO) status to its chapter of the Christian Legal Society (CLS). Several benefits attend this school-approved status, including the use of school funds, facilities, and channels of communication, as well as Hastings’ name and logo. RSOs must abide by certain conditions, including the school’s Nondiscrimination Policy. Hastings interpreted its policy as to mandate acceptance of all comers: RSOs must allow any student to participate, become a member, or seek leadership positions, regardless of her status or beliefs. CLS, on the other hand, interpreted its bylaws to exclude from affiliation anyone who engages in “unrepentant homosexual conduct” or holds religious convictions different from those in the Statement of Faith. Hastings rejected CLS’s application for RSO status on the ground that the group’s bylaws did not comply with Hastings’ open-access policy because they excluded students based on religion and sexual orientation. CLS filed this suit for injunctive and declaratory relief under 42 U. S. C. §1983, alleging that Hastings’ refusal to grant the group RSO status violated its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free speech, expressive association, and free exercise of religion.

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