Justices Joust Over Christian Group's Rights-
Dispute Centers on Whether Student Club Can Receive State Funding After Excluding Members Due to Their Beliefs
Conservative and liberal justices on the Supreme Court dueled verbally over whether a student religious group has a constitutional right to receive state college funds while excluding homosexuals and others who violate its beliefs.
The case, argued Monday, stems from San Francisco, where the University of California's Hastings College of the Law says its policy requires that student groups seeking benefits such as school funding or preferred access to meeting rooms admit any interested student.
Hastings refused to accept the Christian Legal Society as a registered student group because, starting in 2004, the organization has held members to a "statement of faith" prohibiting "fornication, adultery and homosexual conduct."
The society sued, contending that the Hastings antidiscrimination policy violated its First Amendment right to associate with those it chooses and to select members and officers committed to promoting its beliefs. Lower courts agreed with Hastings, setting up a Supreme Court argument...
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
The dividing lines from the comments and questions were predictable: Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and presumably Thomas (he rarely involves himself in oral arguments) are with CLS. Ginsberg, Sotomayor, and Stevens are with Hastings. Breyer and Kennedy are the swing votes.
Scalia made his viewpoint very clear:
"To require this Christian society to allow atheists not just to join, but to conduct Bible classes...that's crazy,"