Supreme Court: Public schools can deny funding to Christian student groups that bar gays

posted at 4:34 pm on June 28, 2010 by Allahpundit

The ruling’s not as clear-cut as you might think. Strictly speaking, it doesn’t say schools can deny funding to student groups that discriminate against gays. What it says is that a school can set an “all-comers” policy that requires groups to admit literally anyone who wants to join; if your group refuses admittance to someone for any reason, then you don’t get any funds. See the difference? The “no discriminating against gays” rule would violate the First Amendment because it imposes a certain viewpoint as a condition for public funds. The “no discriminating against anyone” rule is, at least on its face, neutral.

Just one or two problems with that. According to Alito’s dissent, the school (Hastings) did originally try to justify its policy in terms of a “no discriminating against gays” rule. Only as the case progressed and they realized that that was a sure loser in court did they switch to the “no discriminating against anyone” policy. The other obvious problem? If, as a condition of public funding, you can’t refuse to admit anyone, what happens if the campus Democrats decide to join the College Republicans en masse and take it over? The majority politely refuses to address that hypothetical, but Alito has questions. From page 35 of his dissent:

One final aspect of the Court’s decision warrants comment. In response to the argument that the accept-all-comers-policy would permit a small and unpopular group to be taken over by students who wish to silence its mes-sage, the Court states that the policy would permit a registered group to impose membership requirements “designed to ensure that students join because of their commitment to a group’s vitality, not its demise.” Ante, at 27. With this concession, the Court tacitly recognizes that Hastings does not really have an accept-all-comers policy—it has an accept-some-dissident-comers policy—and the line between members who merely seek to change a group’s message (who apparently must be admitted) and those who seek a group’s “demise” (who may be kept out) is hopelessly vague…

The possibility of such takeovers, however, is by no means the most important effect of the Court’s holding. There are religious groups that cannot in good conscience agree in their bylaws that they will admit persons who do not share their faith, and for these groups, the consequence of an accept-all-comers policy is marginalization.

In other words, even the “no discriminating against anyone” rule isn’t absolute — in which case, why should any group that’s deeply devoted to a particular point of view be forced to admit people who disagree with that viewpoint?

But of course, we’re not talking about just any group here. Alito considers the “no discriminating against gays, specifically” rule too, and notes the key distinction between religious groups and most other types of student groups. For the religious group, moral disapproval of certain behaviors is baked in the cake. A “Students Against Carbon Emissions” group, say, can express its point of view perfectly well without discriminating on the basis of race, religion, orientation, etc., but it’s a tad more complicated for the devout Christian (or Muslim) group. Page 22 of the dissent:

It bears emphasis that permitting religious groups to limit membership to those who share the groups’ beliefs would not have the effect of allowing other groups to discriminate on the basis of religion. It would not mean, for example, that fraternities or sororities could exclude students on that basis. As our cases have recognized, the right of expressive association permits a group to exclude an applicant for membership only if the admission of that person would “affec[t] in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints.” Dale, 530 U. S., at 648. Groups that do not engage in expressive association have no such right. Similarly, groups that are dedicated to expressing a viewpoint on a secular topic (for example, a political or ideological viewpoint) would have no basis for limiting membership based on religion because the presence of members with diverse religious beliefs would have no effect on the group’s ability to express its views. But for religious groups, the situation is very different. This point was put well by a coalition of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Sikh groups: “Of course there is a strong interest in prohibiting religious discrimination where religion is irrelevant. But it is fundamentally confused to apply a rule against religious discrimination to a religious association.” Brief for American Islamic Congress et al. as Amici Curiae 3.

Exit question: Under Alito’s framework, would it be okay for a school to deny funding to a student group that espouses racial supremacism of one kind or another? If refusing membership on the basis of race is part of their core belief system, then presumably it’d be a free-speech violation to make them do otherwise. And a follow-up question: What if a gay but devoutly Christian student wanted to join the Christian group in this case? Assume that he agreed with their moral code that homosexuality is immoral, that it shouldn’t be practiced, etc. Is it okay to deny him membership, or does the fact that he technically doesn’t undermine their viewpoint mean the “all-comers” policy should apply there?


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Comment pages: 1 2

Shouldn’t school groups just fund themselves anyway? I’d prefer that to having every group coming hat-in-hand to the school administrators.

hawksruleva on June 28, 2010 at 4:40 PM

When I was in school, this is what all our school groups did, or they sponsors such as the Civitans or something.

If a groups wants tax dollars, they have to follow rules that may go against there values. The solution is to organize the group off campus and privately fund it.

ladyingray on June 28, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Ooh, or how about a Muslim group that a Jewish student wants to join? Surely the group will have funding pulled unless it accepts the Jewish student, right?

Ameripundit has it right. If this is the way the ruling goes, then it’s time to start testing that. Flood the pro-Hamas, Pro-Hezbollah, pro-whatever groups with people that oppose these groups and then either weaken them or get them denied use of school facilities & funding for rejecting Pro-Israeli, etc. students

Jill1066 on June 28, 2010 at 5:37 PM

“Mr. Whitey Jewish Guy?”

WTF? Who talks like that?

The Race Card on June 28, 2010 at 5:35 PM

It sure has me befuddled, considering it’s only whites who think in such coarse racial terms to begin with. Right?

ddrintn on June 28, 2010 at 5:38 PM

TexasAg03 on June 28, 2010 at 5:34 PM

Title IX LXIX

The Race Card on June 28, 2010 at 5:38 PM

So the footbal team joins code pink. This stuff is a two way street.

seven on June 28, 2010 at 5:40 PM

One thing for sure.This knife cuts both ways.

CWforFreedom on June 28, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Oh, I dunno. Libs usually make pretty sure that the conservative side of the knife is as dull as possible, and more often than not they’ll have the courts on their side.

ddrintn on June 28, 2010 at 5:41 PM

What would Jesus do?

Queen0fCups on June 28, 2010 at 5:41 PM

What would Jesus do?

Queen0fCups on June 28, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Not expect Caesar to fund his disciples.

ddrintn on June 28, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Jimbo3 on June 28, 2010 at 5:04 PM

But doesn’t that hold true for any group?

chemman on June 28, 2010 at 5:45 PM

It sure has me befuddled, considering it’s only whites who think in such coarse racial terms to begin with. Right?

ddrintn on June 28, 2010 at 5:38 PM

First things first. I think you might have BURIED me. I don’t want to go way off topic. But I’m probably going to have to do a blog post apology to you. If I’m wrong I own it. Kinda busy now but I promise to do you justice, whatever that entails.
***

Coarse racial language is an American rite of passage. Every group has their words, phrases, jokes that get told or said by someone from every other group about them at least once.

Rap music and base teen-culture have done a lot for divisive, insulting language. I’d also blame Truly Tasteless Jokes Volumes 1-infinity.

The Race Card on June 28, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Libs usually make pretty sure that the conservative side of the knife is as dull as possible, and more often than not they’ll have the courts on their side.

ddrintn on June 28, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Yeah, but Republicans just let it happen. GOP missed the chapter on Pavlov’s dog. They have not learned to respond to the ringing bell yet.

The Race Card on June 28, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Some college guys in here needs to start a “Gay Messianic Jews Who Love Muslim Men” Group at their colleges. Watch the fur fly…

GoodBoy on June 28, 2010 at 5:48 PM

LincolntheHun on June 28, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Would that be the gamma-males?

chemman on June 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM

First things first. I think you might have BURIED me. I don’t want to go way off topic. But I’m probably going to have to do a blog post apology to you. If I’m wrong I own it. Kinda busy now but I promise to do you justice, whatever that entails.

The Race Card on June 28, 2010 at 5:46 PM

That’s big of you, and no more apologies or anything are necessary. I just wanted to make clear that I’m not into racist or racialist remarks. So, we’ll drop the matter.

ddrintn on June 28, 2010 at 5:51 PM

Oy…would love to jump in on this one…too tired.

JetBoy on June 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Jimbo3 on June 28, 2010 at 5:04 PM
But doesn’t that hold true for any group?

chemman on June 28, 2010 at 5:45 PM

No, because some groups tend to be limited to just a few members, but others (for instance, groups that show movies or organize lectures) tend to do things that benefit more people.

Jimbo3 on June 28, 2010 at 5:54 PM

What it says is that a school can set an “all-comers” policy that requires groups to admit literally anyone who wants to join; if your group refuses admittance to someone for any reason, then you don’t get any funds.

I wonder what this means for musical groups and sports teams that require auditions or tryouts (ZOMGELITIST)? Those are school clubs, too.

ClassicalMusicNerd on June 28, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Said get rid of public funding; not the groups themselves. They can figure ways to pay for themselves.

lorien1973 on June 28, 2010 at 5:28 PM

I don’t disagree, but I wonder aloud: won’t there still be questions about use of campus facilities for meetings? If it’s a public facility, you’d think the organization would have the right to hold a meeting there (say, in Room 222 of the whacked-out-liberal-arts building). But if the university is receiving federal funds, I tend to think that we’re back in court with excluded groups screaming discrimination.

BuckeyeSam on June 28, 2010 at 5:55 PM

No, because some groups tend to be limited to just a few members, but others (for instance, groups that show movies or organize lectures) tend to do things that benefit more people.

Jimbo3 on June 28, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Really? I’ve seen stunningly well-attended university debates between Dr. Frank Turek and Christopher Hitchens. I’ve also seen Dr. Ravi Zacharias give lectures on the existence of God in packed university halls. Many of these programs are sponsored by Christian groups.

Where you do you acquire your information, Jimbo? Your own liberal law school education, perhaps?

Grace_is_sufficient on June 28, 2010 at 6:10 PM

What it says is that a school can set an “all-comers” policy that requires groups to admit literally anyone who wants to join;

So what if anyone can join, given that clubs have rules. Refuse to conform, get the boot.

maverick muse on June 28, 2010 at 6:14 PM

ClassicalMusicNerd on June 28, 2010 at 5:55 PM

ANYONE can audition. Doesn’t go further than that so far as performance opportunity. Bands and choirs will get towel boys and girls.

maverick muse on June 28, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Not expect Caesar to fund his disciples.

ddrintn on June 28, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Good point.

dedalus on June 28, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Lesson: Take no public funding.

Daggett on June 28, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Better Lesson: Provide no public funding

PackerBronco on June 28, 2010 at 6:28 PM

If refusing membership on the basis of race is part of their core belief system, then presumably it’d be a free-speech violation to make them do otherwise.

Nope. It’s illegal to discriminate against someone based on their race, it’s not illegal to discriminate against someone based on their ideas or beliefs. At least not yet.

29Victor on June 28, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Does that mean I can join the Black Student Union?

Tim Burton on June 28, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Ameripundit has it right. If this is the way the ruling goes, then it’s time to start testing that. Flood the pro-Hamas, Pro-Hezbollah, pro-whatever groups with people that oppose these groups and then either weaken them or get them denied use of school facilities & funding for rejecting Pro-Israeli, etc. students

Jill1066 on June 28, 2010 at 5:37 PM

That presumes liberal justices will want to be consistent. Forget it. They’ll claim that the cause of social justice overrides the constistency of little minds and THEY will the arbiters of what constitutes social justice.

PackerBronco on June 28, 2010 at 6:32 PM

Nope. It’s illegal to discriminate against someone based on their race, it’s not illegal to discriminate against someone based on their ideas or beliefs. At least not yet.

29Victor on June 28, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Religious discrimination is illegal in most circumstances.

dedalus on June 28, 2010 at 6:40 PM

How ’bout since we owe $13 Trillion dollars, everybody fund their own stuff?

And the very minute we’ve paid that off, then we can start funding the Feminist Bass-Fishing Renaissance Poetry Club again. Promise.

Noel on June 28, 2010 at 6:47 PM

I think that all Christian groups need to start joining Muslim groups and demand they be elected representatives of the group.

And then hang up pictures of Jesus – the Jew from Nazareth.

ramrants on June 28, 2010 at 7:08 PM

Bizarre. Why would a gay student want to join a Christian group to begin with? I know the liberal Christians will deny major fundamental tenants of the religion and they see no problem with that, but ummm the literature is kinda really clear on sexual relations, folks, both old and new testament strictly forbid sex outside of marriage, and marriage is well defined in both books. Why would you ever want to join a group whose basis is a set of doctrine that says you’re particular brand of sin dooms you to hell unless you fundamentally change your very lifestyle?

TheBlueSite on June 28, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Silly savage.

profitsbeard on June 28, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Does that mean I can join the Black Student Union?

Tim Burton on June 28, 2010 at 6:29 PM

In all fairness, when I was in college the Black Student Association was already open to anyone interested in joining, regardless of race.

ddrintn on June 28, 2010 at 7:19 PM

The all-comers thing is never going to wash. Even the school will reject it. It was a dumb move to make just to sort of win a case. What happens when the local Fraternity has it’s pledges join the Campus Women’s Organization as part of Pledge week?

Is it okay to deny him membership, or does the fact that he technically doesn’t undermine their viewpoint mean the “all-comers” policy should apply there?

That is a pretty silly question. Do campus Christian Groups bar Homosexuals? Or for being a practicing activities they consider immoral?

The CLS requires that voting members sign a statement of faith and regards ”unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle” as being inconsistent with that faith.

Your hypothertical gay would seemingly have no problem signing such a pledge and be admitted.

With this ruling we have once again this ridiculous assumption that people have no control over their sexual proclivities. This ruling would force a Christian Group to admit a sadomasochist under the premise he can’t get off with pain.

Rocks on June 28, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Why would you ever want to join a group whose basis is a set of doctrine that says you’re particular brand of sin dooms you to hell unless you fundamentally change your very lifestyle?

TheBlueSite on June 28, 2010 at 7:12 PM

To subvert it. Just ask the Episcopalians.

Rocks on June 28, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Religious discrimination is illegal in most circumstances.

dedalus on June 28, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Not regarding clubs.

Rocks on June 28, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Oy…would love to jump in on this one…too tired.

JetBoy on June 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Before you get too excited…remember the knife cuts both ways…hmmm kind of like Ernesto.

CWforFreedom on June 28, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Christian groups want to discuss the bible and stuff; they don’t to debate a non-believer. So you include people who want to discuss it, exclude those who (even if unintentionally) take away time from the subject of the group.

lorien1973 on June 28, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Having atheists in the club doesn’t mean the Bible can’t be studied. Those who try to exclude it would be contributing to the club’s demise, but not all would try to exclude it. Churches don’t exclude, and that only seems to make them stronger.

That sort of group shouldn’t be funded by the Law School anyways. The groups/activities that get funded should be those which would attract a relatively large amount of interest from the law students in general and which have activities which law students in general might attend. Funding a five person bible group goes against those principles–they really don’t need funding because they can do this on their own.

Jimbo3 on June 28, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Why shouldn’t the minority students also have their preferences represented? It’s arguably easier for a large group to raise necessary funds than a smaller group.

–It’s not a ton of money in almost all cases and is probably funded by an activities fee paid for by students in connection with their tuition.

Jimbo3 on June 28, 2010 at 5:09 PM

I’m not sure how this helps your argument about it only applying to larger groups. If everyone’s paying, why shouldn’t everyone have some level of access to it?

Esthier on June 28, 2010 at 7:36 PM

Not regarding clubs.

Rocks on June 28, 2010 at 7:23 PM

At my high school, we had HABLA, which was primarily about Spanish in general but one year went to Hispanics only. There was only one gringo in the club, and she was kicked out. Maybe this wasn’t legal, but it wasn’t challenged.

As to the issue of funding itself, I think the biggest problem is what constitutes funding. Don’t school rooms count?

Esthier on June 28, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Why would you ever want to join a group whose basis is a set of doctrine that says you’re particular brand of sin dooms you to hell unless you fundamentally change your very lifestyle?

TheBlueSite on June 28, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Plenty of people in churches and in those groups are embracing less than 100% of Christian teaching.

Groups that are inclusive of various denominations of Christianity are already accepting individuals who disagree about important attributes of faith (e.g., how salvation is obtained, nature of the Trinity, Mariology, etc.).

It doesn’t seem unreasonable that someone who is gay but otherwise lives a Christian life might sincerely want to belong to one of the groups.

dedalus on June 28, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Who cares, Christians are the predominant givers anyways so I hope they stick to their guns and don’t fold for the “schools” money, just find another way to raise funds.

royzer on June 28, 2010 at 8:07 PM

I’m OK with this as long as the ruling is applied equally. That is to say, if a gay group bans a Christian, I expect the school to go to bat for him.

AbaddonsReign on June 28, 2010 at 4:39 PM

The decision said:

By a vote of 5 to 4, the justices said that a public university does not have to recognize a student religious group that wants to exclude gays and others who do not share its core beliefs.

In other words, no school is obligated to “recognize” any group that it doesn’t find accommodating or mindful of what that/any school thinks makes for a good group, so to speak.

Ideology.

Schools are “free” to discriminate about sanctioned groups per ideology.

This SHOULD function per school character and profiles, but I think most of us perceive a wave of Leftwing discrimination of Christian groups coming.

I mention “of Christian groups” as being the No. 1 target because Christian ideology is about the No. 1 hated ideology to the Left, especially as to Biblical statements about homosexuality.

Maybe the lesson here is that Christian and Christian-affiliated schools CAN, indeed, NOT acknowledge groups that promote homosexuality?

Lourdes on June 28, 2010 at 8:41 PM

ddrintn on June 28, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Don’t buy it. He’s baiting you.

The Race Card on June 28, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Leftwing, liberal education is already discriminating against Christian ideology. So are some secular schools, such as Judaist and of course, Muslim schools.

I hope all of those who engage in this discrimination can value the great care they receive or may receive from Catholic hospitals and Catholic schools as to educating their children.

Lourdes on June 28, 2010 at 8:43 PM

What about minority groups that exclude whites? Could this be the end of the NAACP?

Grunt on June 28, 2010 at 4:42 PM

The decision affects SCHOOL GROUPS, not general, socio-political groups non-student associated.

However, the Young Republicans and others such as that that maintain college (or, student) associations on-campus or associated with campuses can be of issue now.

I AGREE, however, that the “race based” groups that exist to include one race only (or one ethnicity only) and exclude all others are loathesome. They have no credible place in public funding, and I don’t understand how reasonable schools even begin to justify such in association with student activities.

Lourdes on June 28, 2010 at 8:47 PM

THERE’S NOTHING TO PREVENT ANY GROUP, however, of students to form or maintain their group in a NON-associated with a school capacity.

They are still free to meet and congregate as students just not as students in official capacity as that group with whatever school finds them “offensive” or whatever.

Lourdes on June 28, 2010 at 8:48 PM

What about Muslim student groups that bar gays?

What about Muslim student groups that bar woman, or have them segregated, or make them hide themselves?

What about Muslim student groups that bar Jews?

Tav on June 28, 2010 at 4:43 PM

The decision affects THE SCHOOLS. They’re not obligated “to recognize” any group that doesn’t accommodate or reinforce or reflect school policy (whatever that may be).

It’s a case of individual “school policy” or what they deem acceptable, seems to me, per this decision.

I think the decision stopped short of being clear, though, since it seems it creates more disorder and confusion than it may or might of resolved.

Lourdes on June 28, 2010 at 8:51 PM

By a vote of 5 to 4, the justices said that a public university does not have to recognize a student religious group that wants to exclude gays and others who do not share its core beliefs. The University of California’s Hastings College of the Law said its anti-discrimination policy required officially recognized student groups to include all who wanted to join. The Christian Legal Society argued that being forced to include those who did not share its beliefs violated constitutional protections of freedom of association and exercise of religion.

The majority included the court’s liberal wing plus Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

The case is Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.

It just makes no sense, like other Liberal/Leftwing decisions.

Makes no sense. Says it’s protecting or upholding one right while eliminating and curtailing many more…makes no sense.

Given the Leftwing administration of public education (both lower AND higher), I think most of the rest of us can easily see where this is headed: suppression and persecution of students with *certain values*.

Lourdes on June 28, 2010 at 8:54 PM

My alma mater had this policy — if your organization was “discriminatory” you couldn’t get school funds. In our case, this primarily meant Greek organizations and Honor Societies.

ScoopPC11 on June 28, 2010 at 9:04 PM

The Race Card on June 28, 2010 at 4:51 PM

communist groups accept a capitalist?

journeyintothewhirlwind on June 28, 2010 at 4:52 PM

You (and a few others here) are focused entirely on “groups” and “associations” in general but that’s not what the decision addresses.

It is directed AT SCHOOLS, moreorless “setting them free” to decide which groups they want to “recognize” and which they don’t have to (no force to recognize any group they don’t think reflects their student policies and educational profile, etc.).

It’s a case of schools not recognizing what groups, NOT who as individual can and wants to join what group.

Individuals can still join whatever group, it’s just that the schools are now being told they don’t have to ‘recognize’ said group/s if they come up with some problem as to the nature of the group.

Individuals, even students, can still form and maintain their groups, it’s just a case of which ones schools will now “recognize” or not — I think this means which ones they’ll provide meeting/office space to, which ones get the free coping services, get mentioned in the school newspaper/s, on school websites, etc.

But groups can still form and exist per individual decision. It’s just a case of which ones can take on “recognition” by the schools some or all of their members associate with.

I still think this is a loopey decision, though, and I think to be credible, all “groups” or associations ought to be free and clear of various public education (or even private ones) organization by funding and name-sharing.

Students can still advertise their groups, nothing illegal about that, based upon their own ideologies.

Lourdes on June 28, 2010 at 9:04 PM

My alma mater had this policy — if your organization was “discriminatory” you couldn’t get school funds. In our case, this primarily meant Greek organizations and Honor Societies.

ScoopPC11 on June 28, 2010 at 9:04 PM

Yeah, I think most of us can easily see that in the near future (if not already) — as long as the education system in this nation continues on it’s Leftwing course — whatever “groups” ARE “recognized” by schools are going to be limited to those who discriminate against many things, but they’ll be referring to themselves as some sort of victims’ group or “sanctuary” group (“free and clear of White people/Christians/capitalists/heterosexuals/’breeders’/etc.”).

So the credible groups won’t be “on campus” or be “recognized” but the wonky ones will be. It’ll be a stroke of credibility NOT to be “school recognized” in other words, in the majority Leftwing educational environment.

Lourdes on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 PM

blink on June 28, 2010 at 8:26 PM

My 7:59PM response was directed at TheBlueSite’s question, not the case. Not surprisingly, both sides were legally well prepared, resulting in a subtle decision and dissent. Ultimately, the law school’s relying on a viewpoint-neutral “all comers” policy rather than singling out the views of the CLS is what seems to have gotten them the 5 votes. Alito’s dissent is persuasive.

More generally, the government shouldn’t be wasting money on these clubs at all–especially the state of CA. If the government wants to use taxpayer dollars on universities the money should go directly into assisting students who are pursuing study that is strategically important. RSO’s like the CLS could be replaced with a web page and weekly get togethers over coffee or beers.

dedalus on June 28, 2010 at 9:17 PM

The Christian groups can pray for a miracle.

Secular groups cannot.

Isn’t that an unfair advantage?

Maybe we need a Department of Divine Intervention to spread the Weal around.

profitsbeard on June 28, 2010 at 9:55 PM

What it says is that a school can set an “all-comers” policy that requires groups to admit literally anyone who wants to join; if your group refuses admittance to someone for any reason, then you don’t get any funds.

Soooo then, Christians can join the Muslim Student Groups, and Gay/Lesbian Groups. DAR can join the Hispanic Students. ROTC can join the Liberal Students. Well it’s just a matter of time then until the Congressional Black & Hispanic Caucus be forced to allow white people? Will the next Miss Black USA be an Hispanic girl?

TN Mom on June 28, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Schools shouldn’t be in the business of funding student groups at all, if the school accepts any public money.

Private schools can to do as they please, and the consumers will decide with their dollars whether or not they approve.

hillbillyjim on June 28, 2010 at 10:57 PM

Something wrong with selling candy bars to fund your groups?

Ronnie on June 28, 2010 at 11:02 PM

So now latino groups will have to admit white and black kids ?

macncheez on June 28, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Maybe we should all join La raza. It would be funny

kangjie on June 28, 2010 at 11:19 PM

Fund your group privately. How much would it really cost?

lorien1973 on June 28, 2010 at 4:48 PM

I’d bet that simple use of school facilities counts as financial support in some fashion.

So the issue becomes not being able to function on campus in the way that other groups are encouraged to do.

TexasDan on June 28, 2010 at 5:04 PM

That is a crucial question indeed. It seems like it would be easy enough to just say, as long as you don’t get public funding the university has no say.

But it all depends on how “public funding” is defined. If this ruling stands, I’m betting there will be a rush to broaden the definition of “public funding” until it’s considered “Public funding of a student group” if a public university even allows it to exist anywhere on campus, even if the group rents a location on campus.

Alito is right; This was a horrible idea. And just when I was thinking SCOTUS was doing some good by spiking the Chicago gun ban.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 12:31 AM

Is it really even about funding?

But Hastings, which is in San Francisco, said no recognized campus groups may exclude people due to religious belief or sexual orientation.

So it can’t be a recognized campus group if they have Christian principles that reject homosexuality as sinful? In fact, this rule would eliminate any Muslim, Jewish, or Christian groups from being recognized at all.

In fact, it seems it would exclude such groups as a Baptist Student Union, or a Christian Missionary society, or a group designed to encourage Christians to vote.

This strikes me as essentially a hate speech ruling, where any group that has a common belief that is not PC is effectively ruled hate speech and banned.

Frankly, a federal government doesn’t preserve freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association doesn’t deserve to exist.

I’m thinking the talk about “public funding” is a red herring meant to distract from the fact that public universities can now feel free to ban any group they don’t like just by amending their policies to find them in violation.

I honestly would have expected readers of this blog to be a lot more perceptive.

For instance, the group at the center of the dispute sponsored events which were free for all to attend. They only restricted their actual membership to those that shared their Christian beliefs.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 12:59 AM

Deny funding to all student groups. Period. WTF is the federal government doing paying for school clubs?

RINO in Name Only on June 29, 2010 at 1:06 AM

Tracked down the opinion, which starts like this:

Respondent Hastings College of the Law (Hastings), a school within the University of California public-school system, extends official recognition to student groups through its “Registered Student Organization” (RSO) program. 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.

Okay, here’s the part that appears to refer to public funding of a group. It’s misleading, though, since the implication is that the issue is all about whether a group should be publicly funded.

The actual issue is not funding, but whether a group is officially recognized. Such recognition includes the benefits of:
a) school funding,
b) school facilities,
c) channels of communication,
d) use of school name and logo (IOW, being an official “Hastings” group

All this is in the first paragraph of the ruling. Without going any further than this, I think it highly doubtful that the issue for this group was their attempt to snare a little school funding. More likely, they were after being able to meet on the campus and be part of the college’s social life. Which, frankly, is a major part of the reason for the group’s existence, so I think I would be correct.

If this group went and completely raised their own funds, they would still be excluded from everything else in the college simply because of Christian beliefs and conviction.

The public funding question is a red herring. The issue is whether a university can set a standard that a Christian group must accept homosexual members even if contrary to their faith or forego recognition by the university as a student group.

Without official recognition, the group may be barred from being able to use any school facilities. Now, if this simply meant that they didn’t have free use of school facilities, probably no big deal. They can raise funds to rent facilities. But if it means that they are barred from using school facilities, even if they pay for such use, then it becomes a very big deal. The group might as well not exist if they’re forced off campus away from the students.

In other words, does the university standard policy that homosexuality is protected trump the religious convictions of individuals and groups with different beliefs.

And it seems we now have the answer.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 1:47 AM

Most recently and comprehensively, in Rosenberger, the Court held that a university generally may not withhold benefits from student groups because of their religious outlook. “Once it has opened a limited[public] forum,” the Court emphasized, “the State must respect the lawful boundaries it has itself set.” 515 U. S, at 829. It may “not exclude speech where its distinction is not reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum, . . . nor may it discriminate against speech on the basis of . . . viewpoint.” Ibid. Pp. 17–19.
(c) Hastings’ all-comers policy is reasonable, taking into account the RSO forum’s function and “all the surrounding circumstances.” Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Ed. Fund, Inc., 473 U. S. 788, 809. Pp. 19–28.

Here is where this decision departs from essentially all recent decisions that are similar. The Court says that if you allow other groups, then you can not discriminate against certain groups simply because you disagree with their viewpoint. You must instead have a reasonable policy that the group is violating.

In this particular case, the “reasonable policy” is that no groups can be allowed on campus unless it allows absolutely no restrictions on who can join. This seems to stretch credulity as a “reasonable policy,” since it seems to imply that no special purpose — and certainly no religious — student groups are to be permitted. In fact, it seems rather obvious that the university adopted this “reasonable policy” merely to be able to exclude Christian groups that disapprove of homosexuality, raising the question, “Wouldn’t the Supreme Court resent this as a blatant attempt to manipulate the Supreme Court to approve a policy they would otherwise have rejected?”

You would think the Supreme Court would be highly offended and offer some harsh criticism of the university for trying to formulate a policy specifically to ban certain groups they didn’t like. Instead, they seem to be nodding in approval.

In effect, Hastings College has banned all religious student groups. Oh sure, if you really want to form a group of students, they can’t stop you. But you can’t do it anywhere in school facilities, and you can’t put the name of the university or its logo, or anything which makes it appear the university is linked to the group.

Now, it’s not quite clear whether the promise of the use of school facilities to official student groups means that other groups are denied those facilities, or simply have to pay for their use. The latter would not be a big problem, but if non-approved groups are denied even the option of paying for the use of school facilities, then they are in effect banned from the campus.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 2:11 AM

Further reading shows that Hastings did allow access to some school facilities to CLS, even if not in the same way as an approved group. This is praiseworthy, and certainly removes some of the sting of their non-recognition of religious groups that object to homosexuality.

But I might point out that a college willing to retool its policies to exclude particular groups in anticipation of a Supreme Court hearing might well offer extra consideration to the group simply to lessen the suggestion of hostility to the group that might weigh against them before the court, and that such offers of consideration could very easily be withdrawn later when the court case is over. There is, in short, absolutely nothing requiring such generosity to continue, and I could easily see it all being withdrawn based on objections by other students or groups.

Once excluded from official group status, it seems patently clear that Hastings is not required to make any accommodations to CLS at all. Therefore, the fact that they have offered accommodations in the past may speak well of them, but can hardly be taken as a promise in the future.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 2:24 AM

CLS’s contention that Hastings’ policy will facilitate hostile takeovers of RSOs by student saboteurs bent on subverting a group’s mission is more hypothetical than real; there is no history or prospect of RSO-hijackings at Hastings.

Coincidentally, in a story on Hot Air earlier today, several Supreme Court justices seemed hardly able to believe the assertion of Kagan back in September that there was no need to worry about the FEC banning books as part of campaign finance reform, because they had never done it in the past. Kagan was asked with a certain amount of scorn if she as a lawyer would advise a client not to worry about what the law said, because it had never been enforced like that before.

I see a clear parallel to the argument above. CLS argued that the policy desired by Hastings would allow people to join groups they disagreed with and effectively overwhelm and sabotage them. But the fact that it hadn’t happened before was taken as proof that it would not happen in the future.

That’s an awful lot like arguing that since the FEC hadn’t tried to ban books before, they never would, even though the law allowed it.

Why would the court ignore the actual policy as written and simply assume it would never be abused? Especially ludicrous is the argument that it hadn’t happened before: since the policy that permitted the abuse was fairly new, it could not have happened before that policy was adopted.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 2:33 AM

“[Hastings] is committed to a policy against legally
impermissible, arbitrary or unreasonable discriminatory
practices.

Bingo. The real dispute is this: is a Christian conviction that disapproves of homosexuality by its nature discriminatory?

The university rules that it is, and Christians are expected to fall in line.

In the past, the expectation would have been that the university could hardly formulate policies that trampled the religious freedom of students, such as discriminating against Christian groups. The First Amendment rights would be presumed to supersede a mere university policy.

The result is sadly inevitable. The same Court that would reject any attempt to discriminate against homosexuals by treating them as second-class citizens now okays discriminating against a Christian group by treating them as second-class citizens.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 3:12 AM

Interesting: it would appear that all four of the Supreme Court conservatives rejected the claim that, in Alito’s words:

(3) this case is about CLS’s desire to obtain “a state subsidy,” ante, at 15. I begin by correcting the picture.

Also interesting: the Christian Legal Association is the only group to have ever applied to Hastings to be a registered group and been rejected.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 3:17 AM

Hmmm. Hastings apparently has never had a written “Accept-all-comers” policy. Rather, they interpret the existing Nondiscrimination policy that actually is written as indicating that no group can exist which does not accept all comers. But there is no trace of this interpretation itself being written anywhere, and the first concrete evidence of it appears to be this very case.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 3:21 AM

Apparently, the offer by Hastings to allow CLS some limited use of their facilities was not quite as generous as implied:

Later in its opinion, the Court reiterates that “Hastings offered CLS access to school facilities to conduct meetings,” ante, at 24, but the majority does not mention that this offer was subject to important qualifications. As Hastings’ attorney put it in the District Court, Hastings told CLS: “‘Hastings allows community groups to some degree to use its facilities, sometimes on a pay basis, I understand, if they’re available after priority is given to registered organizations’. We offered that.” App. 442.

The Court also fails to mention what happened when CLS attempted to take advantage of Hastings’ offer. On August 19, 2005, the local CLS president sent an e-mail to Ms. Chapman requesting permission to set up an “advice table” on a campus patio on August 23 and 24 so that members of CLS could speak with students at the beginning of the fall semester. Id., at 298. This request—merely to set up a table on a patio—could hardly have interfered with any other use of the law school’s premises or cost the school any money. But although the request was labeled “time sensitive,” ibid., Ms. Chapman did not respond until the dates in question had passed, and she then advised the student that all further inquiries should be made through CLS’s attorney. Id., at 297–298.

In September 2005, CLS tried again. Through counsel,CLS sought to reserve a room on campus for a guest speaker who was scheduled to appear on a specified date. Id., at 302–303. Noting Ms. Chapman’s tardy response on the prior occasion, the attorney asked to receive a response before the scheduled date, but once again no answer was given until after the date had passed. Id., at
300.

Hardly a crucial point, since Hastings did at least allow some access to their facilities. But it seems a bit dishonest for the liberals on the Supreme Court to imply that Hastings was strongly accommodating CLS, when the accommodations were more nominal in nature.

But then, you can’t expect honesty from liberals.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 3:33 AM

Nice statement by Alito:

This Court does not customarily brush aside a claim of unlawful discrimination with the observation that the effects of the discrimination were really not so bad.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 3:34 AM

The conservative justices didn’t consider the case to have much — if anything — to do with funding.

Finally, I must comment on the majority’s emphasis on funding. According to the majority, CLS is “seeking what is effectively a state subsidy,” ante, at 15, and the question presented in this case centers on the “use of school funds,” ante, at 1. In fact, funding plays a very small role in this case. Most of what CLS sought and was denied—such as permission to set up a table on the law school patio—would have been virtually cost free.

I have to wonder if the liberal justices focused so much on the question of funding to encourage people — especially libertarians — to ignore all other issues. Certainly, there have been no shortage of comments here along the lines of, “Who cares! None of these groups need public funding anyway!”

But if you think it was just a question of public funding, you’ve been had. It would appear CLS was protesting the fact that they were refused normal status as a group because of their religious convictions, discouraged from advertising or handing out literature anywhere on campus, and generally treated as unwelcome and second-class citizens.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 3:42 AM

Apparently the only similar case involving First Amendment rights of a group seeking to register on a campus was in 1972, when the SDS — known for, shall we say, unruly behavior, was denied the ability to register at a particular university. It appears in that case, the Court took the opposite approach: the First Amendment rights of the students took precedence over the university’s objections based on policy.

Apparently, the actual position of SCOTUS depends on who the victimized group is.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 3:47 AM

Must. Go. To. Bed.

But it appears this decision by the Supreme Court is as indefensible as I was afraid it would be. In effect, it represents the best single example of a remark often made in public fora: Discrimination against Christians is the only discrimination acceptable in this country.

I know a lot of more secular people think that is hyperbole, but this decision makes a powerful case that it is true.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 3:57 AM

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 29, 2010 at 3:57 AM

Yep.

pannw on June 29, 2010 at 11:11 AM

LOGIC QUESTION:

If nobody is allowed to discriminate, how can there possibly be groups??

Wouldn’t the very concept of a “group” be discrimatory??

Carried to its logical conclusion, this idiocy could be used to advantage. For instance, a class action could be undone by pointing out that some have been excluded from the class….

landlines on June 29, 2010 at 3:06 PM

I just find it hard to believe that universities will apply this ruling fairly. Are we to believe that universities will force the Asian-American group to admit black students? Are we to believe that colleges will force the black fraternities to let white guys in? Its absurd on its face… sure, there will be isolated cases where conservatives fight back on campus, but this targets religious organizations and their policy towards gays, and its a double standard of the highest order.

That being said, I’m an atheist libertarian who doesn’t think any of these organizations should be funded by the federal govt in the first place and certainly have no personal use for organizations that exclude gays for being gay. I do recognize their right to do so in a free society, just as I recognize the right for BET to have a no-whites-allowed awards show every year. You want to exclude people in your private organization, go right ahead. Its none of the federal govt’s business, but this ruling is obviously targeted at one group.

dan@onlyaliberal.com on June 29, 2010 at 6:39 PM

oh religious groups, fighting so hard for their right to hate. because in the end that’s what they are arguing for, the power to take money from the state to teach their “moral” practices. despite the fact that they don’t need any money to do this and they are only seriously demanding government sanction for their discrimination.

Zekecorlain on June 29, 2010 at 7:44 PM

chemman

First let’s assume you are telling the truth as opposed to just making things up.
We did have a responsibility to your children, if you do have any, you must have forgotten how the state monitored you to make sure you weren’t depriving your children of a real education.
As to the drug reference, you do know the reasoning behind the Ad Hominem fallacy, don’t you?
I mean I love calling liberals idiots but that isn’t a proper response to their arguments.
Anyway it is no more the state’s job to determine what child is straight or gay than it is to tell a child what to pray.

Observation on June 29, 2010 at 9:32 PM

Zekecorlain on June 29, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

Inanemergencydial on June 29, 2010 at 10:25 PM

Zekecorlain on June 29, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

Inanemergencydial on June 29, 2010 at 10:25 PM

Take turns and do both. It’s too funny to not laugh, and too sad to not cry.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 30, 2010 at 1:08 AM

What about minority groups that exclude whites? Could this be the end of the NAACP?

Grunt on June 28, 2010 at 4:42 PM

You’re kidding, right?

Please explain to me how the NAACP excludes whites. Are you basing that on the name of the organization? Have you tried to join? How have you been excluded? WTF?
***

I wonder what some of you think America would look like had it not been for the important work of organizations like NAACP and other groups coalesced under the auspice of the civil-rights movement.

I get that many Americans would have preferred that we did not fight the Civil War, that we had just let justice somehow run its course. It must be nice to have the luxury to imagine such things.

America is better-off because of the civil-rights movement of which NAACP was an integral organization. But, NAACP seriously needs to shift their focus, update their chapters, leadership and mission.

The Race Card on June 30, 2010 at 3:13 AM

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