RONALD W. ROSENBERGER, et al. v. RECTOR AND VISITORS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA et al.

Supreme Court Cases

515 U.S. 819 (1995)

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Case Overview

Legal Principle at Issue

Whether a public university can deny funds to a religious student group that it provides to nonreligious student groups.

Action

The Supreme Court ruled on behalf of the religious student group, reversing the Fourth Circuit.

Facts/Syllabus

The University of Virginia, a public university, used public money to subsidize publishing costs for nonreligious student groups. The university denied funds to a Christian student group that requested financial assistance to publish a newspaper that would “challenge Christians to live, in word and deed, according to the faith they proclaim and to encourage students to consider what a personal relationship with Jesus Christ means.”

Importance of Case

Public universities cannot deny funding generally available to student groups based on a student group’s religious identification. The Supreme Court held that the Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from supporting religious activity, did not justify such viewpoint discrimination.

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