Alito does not believe in the seperation of church and state

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marcus phoenix's picture

Didn’t mean to double post but this makes my blood boil. Scary that this ruling was only 5-4. All it will take is one more conservative appointee and we can say buh bye seperation of church and state, roe vs. wade etc.

Court: Christian group can’t bar gays, get funding

06-28) 10:46 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) –

An ideologically split Supreme Court ruled Monday that a law school can legally deny recognition to a Christian student group that won’t let gays join, with one justice saying that the First Amendment does not require a public university to validate or support the group’s “discriminatory practices.”

The court turned away an appeal from the Christian Legal Society, which sued to get funding and recognition from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. 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.

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

The court on a 5-4 judgment upheld the lower court rulings saying the Christian group’s First Amendment rights of association, free speech and free exercise were not violated by the college’s nondiscrimination policy.

“In requiring CLS — in common with all other student organizations — to choose between welcoming all students and forgoing the benefits of official recognition, we hold, Hastings did not transgress constitutional limitations,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the 5-4 majority opinion for the court’s liberals and moderate Anthony Kennedy. “CLS, it bears emphasis, seeks not parity with other organizations, but a preferential exemption from Hastings’ policy.”

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a strong dissent for the court’s conservatives, saying the opinion was “a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country.”

“Our proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate,’” Alito said, quoting a previous court decision. “Today’s decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.”

Leo Martinez, Hastings College of the Law’s acting chancellor and dean, said the ruling “validates our policy, which is rooted in equity and fairness.”

But the decision is a large setback for the Christian Legal Society, which has chapters at universities nationwide and has won similar lawsuits in other courts.

“All college students, including religious students, should have the right to form groups around shared beliefs without being banished from campus,” said Kim Colby, senior counsel at the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom.

The 30-member Hastings group was told in 2004 that it was being denied recognition because of its policy of exclusion.

According to a society news release, it invites all students to its meetings.

“However, CLS voting members and officers must affirm its Statement of Faith,” the statement said. “CLS interprets the Statement of Faith to include the belief that Christians should not engage in sexual conduct outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.”

Kennedy said “the era of loyalty oaths is behind us.”

“A school quite properly may conclude that allowing an oath or belief-affirming requirement, or an outside conduct requirement, could be divisive for student relations and inconsistent with the basic concept that a view’s validity should be tested through free and open discussion,” Kennedy said.

Justice John Paul Stevens was even harsher, saying while the Constitution “may protect CLS’s discriminatory practices off campus, it does not require a public university to validate or support them.”

Stevens, who plans to retire this summer, added that “other groups may exclude or mistreat Jews, blacks and women — or those who do not share their contempt for Jews, blacks and women. A free society must tolerate such groups. It need not subsidize them, give them its official imprimatur, or grant them equal access to law school facilities.”

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called the decision a “huge step forward for fundamental fairness and equal treatment.”

“Religious discrimination is wrong, and a public school should be able to take steps to eradicate it,” Lynn said. “Today’s court ruling makes it easier for colleges and universities to do that.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/06/28/national/w07...

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"USA troop is a public goods for American and World" ---Lord qqqbee, Sep 1, 2010

higgmond's picture

Separation of church and state is an irrelavant sidebar to the ruling. It really comes down to balancing freedom of association and freedom of speech against discrimatory practices. This ruling basically sets the stage to have every race, gender, sexual orientation and belief based student organization barred from university campuses because of their “discrimatory practices”. For example, every African American Students Association in the country must now accept white supremacists as members or risk being banned, every Jewish association must accept members of the American Nazi Party or risk being banned, every gay and lesbian association must accept members of the Christian Legal Society or risk being banned, the Young Democrats of America mush accept Repulicans or risk being banned, etc.

I got nothin’

marcus phoenix's picture

higgmond Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Separation of church and state is an irrelavant
> sidebar to the ruling. It really comes down to
> balancing freedom of association and freedom of
> speech against discrimatory practices. This
> ruling basically sets the stage to have every
> race, gender, sexual orientation and belief based
> student organization barred from university
> campuses because of their “discrimatory
> practices”. For example, every African American
> Students Association in the country must now
> accept white supremacists as members or risk being
> banned, every Jewish association must accept
> members of the American Nazi Party or risk being
> banned, every gay and lesbian association must
> accept members of the Christian Legal Society or
> risk being banned, the Young Democrats of America
> mush accept Repulicans or risk being banned, etc.

Read the ruling again. Its talks nothing about the organization in question being banned from campus. Its merely prohibits a organization from using University funds if it engages in discriminatory behaviour.

They can exclude any group they don’t want in their club. It’s just that they cannot use university (taxpayer) funds to engage in their behaviour. Same rule should apply if a nazi wants to join the African American Students Association or a republican wishing to join Young Democrats. Go ahead and exclude, but don’t expect any university funds.

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"USA troop is a public goods for American and World" ---Lord qqqbee, Sep 1, 2010

higgmond's picture

marcus phoenix Wrote:
——————————————————-
>
> Read the ruling again. Its talks nothing about the
> organization in question being banned from campus.
> Its merely prohibits a organization from using
> University funds if it engages in discriminatory
> behaviour.
>
> They can exclude any group they don’t want in
> their club. It’s just that they cannot use
> university (taxpayer) funds to engage in their
> behaviour. Same rule should apply if a nazi wants
> to join the African American Students Association
> or a republican wishing to join Young Democrats.
> Go ahead and exclude, but don’t expect any
> university funds.

Funding and recognition are separate issues and I agree that groups should not receive funding. However, the school said “no recognized campus groups may exclude people due to religious belief or sexual orientation”. There is no mention of funding in their policy, just recognition. Similarly, Justice Stevens said that while the Constitution “may protect CLS’s discriminatory practices off campus, it does not require a public university to validate or support them” and “other groups may exclude or mistreat Jews, blacks and women — or those who do not share their contempt for Jews, blacks and women. A free society must tolerate such groups. It need not subsidize them, give them its official imprimatur, or grant them equal access to law school facilities.” Please note the use of “or” in both of his statements. So, a school does not have to validate or grant equal access to groups that it considers to engage in “discriminatory practices”.

I got nothin’

marcus phoenix's picture

Ok then you seem to agree with this ruling then. I was curious to see what your views on Alito’s dissent are…I don’t see any first amendment violations in this ruling that he seems to be alluding to. The university has every right to deny funding to this organization…it cannot ban them outright.

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"USA troop is a public goods for American and World" ---Lord qqqbee, Sep 1, 2010

higgmond's picture

Were the ruling solely about funding I would agree, but I interpret Ginsberg’s statement, “In requiring CLS — in common with all other student organizations — to choose between welcoming all students and forgoing the benefits of official recognition, we hold, Hastings did not transgress constitutional limitations,” to mean it is more than just funding. I guess it comes down to the definition of “official recognition”. UC hastings lists a lot of student organizations on it’s website. I would consider a listing on the school’s website to mean that the organization is officially recognized by the school. A lot of those organizations potentially engage in discriminatory practices. For example:

Can members of Hamas join the Hastings Jewish Law Students Association?
Can members of the Aryan Brotherhood join the Black Law Students Association?
Can both pro-life and pro-choice students join the Law Students for Reproductive Justice?
Can Republicans join the Hastings Democrats?
Can Jewish students join the Iranian Law Students Association?
Can members of the He-Man Women Haters Club join the Clara Foltz Feminist Association?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the answer is no on at least some of them. I fully support the right for these organizations to exist and have a voice on campus though, and they appear to be “officially recognized” by the school despite their potentially discrimatory practices.

The validity of Alito’s dissent also depend on the true extent of the ruling. If it applies only to funding, then Alito’s statement is off-base. If it extends to recognition though, which it appears that it does, than Alito is on point.

I got nothin’

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