Christian Legal Society V. Martinezngocthanh
Justice Samuel Alito wrote a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Roberts C.J. and Scalia and Thomas JJ. The disagreement disagreed on one important point: was Hastings` policy an “all come” policy or a policy of “non-discrimination”. In the latter case, society would not be able to reject members on the basis of their legally protected status, but could discriminate on the basis of their conduct or beliefs. Alito compared the case to Boy Scouts v. Dale, where the group`s “message” was burdened by the forced admission of unwanted members. On the 30th. In June 2010, Peter Schmidt wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education that the decision was unlikely to end the legal dispute over guidelines for student groups and that colleges should not think that their policies toward student groups are immune from legal challenges as a result of the decision.  Others warned that the decision threatened the rights of student media organizations on campus.  And in most cases, according to CLS, law school groups can and do regulate membership. For example, an environmental group could legally keep climate change skeptics out of leadership positions without conflicting with Hastings` anti-discrimination policies. But because Hastings` policies prohibit prejudice based on religion and sexual orientation (rather than environmental views), CLS, unlike other groups, may be forced to include in its direction those who do not share their religious or moral beliefs. In doing so, Hastings openly discriminates against religious groups, thereby violating the guarantee of religious freedom in the First Amendment clause.
(3) Hastings` policies are all the more credible given the “substantial alternative channels that remain open to communication [of CLS students]”. Perry Ed. Assn. v. Perry Local Educators` Assn., 460 U.S. 37. Hastings offered CLS access to school facilities to hold meetings and use blackboards and some bulletin boards to promote events. Although CLS has not been able to take advantage of RSOs` own methods of communication, the advent of electronic media and social networking sites diminishes the importance of these channels.
Private groups, such as brotherhoods and sororities, usually maintain a presence in universities without official academic affiliation. CLS was in a similar position: it held a variety of activities the year after Hastings refused to recognize him, and the number of students attending these meetings and events doubled. “The variety and nature of the alternative forms of access that exist here,” in short, “are favourable to comparison with those of other [limited public] forums where [the Court] has maintained restrictions.” Id., pp. 53-54, pp. 24-25. (b) In three cases, the Court found that public universities had unconstitutionally chosen groups of students for unfavourable treatment because of their position. See Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169; Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263; and Rosenberger. More recently, in the Rosenberger case, the Court ruled that a university cannot generally deny benefits to groups of students because of their religious attitudes.
“Once it has opened a limited [public] forum,” the court stressed, “the state must respect the legal limits it has set for itself.” 515 United States, to 829. It must “not exclude speech if its distinction is not reasonable in the light of the purpose served by the forum, . Nor can he speak on the basis of . Position. Ibid., pp. 17-19. Hastings also asserts that its non-discrimination policy is not only fair and neutral, but is also reasonable in terms of its purpose, which is to ensure “that the leadership, educational and social opportunities offered by registered student organizations are accessible to all students.” The policy is reinforced by the fact that much of the money used to support officially registered groups comes from activity fees paid by all students. “It is reasonable for Hastings to conclude that students should not subsidize group activities in which they are officially prohibited from participating,” the law school letter reads.
In addition, Hastings said, the non-discrimination policy is prescribed by California state law, which requires groups that receive state funding, including groups of registered students, to comply with its anti-discrimination laws. This includes the prohibition of discrimination based on religion and sexual orientation. In early the 2004-2005 academic year, leaders of an existing Christian RSO founded the Petitioner Christian Legal Society (CLS) by joining a national Christian association that establishes student chapters in law schools across the country. These chapters must enact laws that require, among other things, that members and leaders sign a “profession of faith” and live their lives in accordance with prescribed principles. These principles include the belief that sexual activity should not take place outside of marriage between a man and a woman. CLS interprets its regulations as excluding from membership any person who engages in “unrepentant homosexual behavior” or who has religious beliefs different from those of the Creed. Hastings denied CLS`s application for RSO status on the grounds that the group`s bylaws were not consistent with Hastings` open access policy because they excluded students on the basis of religion and sexual orientation. The Christian Legal Society is a statewide non-denominational organization of Christian lawyers, judges, and law students, with chapters in 165 law schools in the United States, including the University of California`s Hastings College of Law. Although anyone is allowed to attend CLS meetings, voting members and those in chapter leadership positions must sign and adhere to a belief affirming their commitment to the group`s Christian beliefs and values. In addition, the group`s regulations state that members and officers are expected to live according to certain principles, including abstaining from sexual activity of any kind outside of heterosexual marriage.
This short report was written by David Masci, Senior Researcher, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. (2) CLS recognizes that the policy is nominally neutral and asserts that it systematically – and unacceptably – imposes the greatest burden on groups whose positions have fallen out of favor with the campus mainstream. This argument fails because “[a] regulation that serves objectives unrelated to the content of the declaration is considered neutral, even if it has a fortuitous effect on some speakers or messages, but not on others”. Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781. Hastings` requirement that RSOs accept all arrivals is met by the court, is “justified without reference to the content [or point of view] of the regulated speech.” Id., at p. 791. It refers to the act of rejection of potential members of the group, without reference to the reasons for this behaviour. pp. 29-31.
Alito believed that the majority decision was very different from the decision in Healy v. James, who was much more supportive of the rights of group associations. In these circumstances, Alito did not consider it appropriate for the Court to submit to the public authorities, but to exercise its own independent judgment. He believed that the changing nature of the university`s policy, its timing, the lack of documentation for the continuity of its policies, and what he saw as selective enforcement policies showed that it used neutral criteria as a pretext to discriminate against a religious group. In a concurring opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens reiterated that he considered Hasting`s policy to be “position neutral” and did not constitute “discrimination against the point of view.” Judge Anthony Kennedy drafted a similar agreement. It believed that such an analysis applied to both the claimed rights of association and the rights of expression of the Christian Legal Society. In addition, it noted that in previous cases “a distinction has been made between measures requiring action and those that deny benefits”. As she explained, the university “swings the carrot of subsidies and does not swing the stick of prohibition.” (c) Hastings` policy on all arrivals is reasonable given the function of the RSO Forum and “all the circumstances surrounding it”. Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Ed.
Fund, Inc., 473 U. P. 788, pp. 19-28. In Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a group of Christian students, was denied official recognition by a public law school because the group insisted that its voting members and leaders accept and adhere to a belief. San Francisco-based UC Hastings College of Law ruled that the Christian Legal Society (CLS) guidelines violated the school`s non-discrimination policy. CLS limited the number of voting members and leadership to Christians who agreed with the group`s creed, including its teachings on sexual morality. Becket filed a court friend brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of a coalition of Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Sikh groups, arguing that religious groups have the constitutional right to determine the requirements for membership in their organizations.
Mike McConnell, Christian Legal Society, Alliance Defending Freedom were lawyers in this case.