Fireworks during “Christian Legal Society v. Martinez” Oral Arguments

We posted over the weekend about Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a case centered on “whether a public university law school may deny school funding and other benefits to a religious student organization because the group requires its officers and voting members to agree with its core religious viewpoints.”

The National Law Journal reports on yesterday’s oral arguments:

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a key church-state dispute over the status of a Christian group at a state university law school. But the discussion quickly devolved into a testy debate over the factual record in the case and what it was all about.

The San Francisco law school [Cal.-Hastings] denied official recognition to the society because of its bylaws, which require members and leaders to adhere to its religious views and bars membership those who advocate or participate in homosexual conduct. Those requirements, the university argued, violate the university’s nondiscrimination policy, which says recognized student organizations must admit any student regardless of their “status or beliefs.”

But in the briefing of the case, the parties squabbled over the breadth of the university policy — was it an “all comers” policy that would also require a Republican club to admit Democrats, or does it have the effect of singling out religious groups as the only ones that may not exclude nonadherents?

The answer is important, because an all-comers policy might have a better chance of being upheld as a viewpoint-neutral rule that is evenly applied to all groups, not just religious ones.

USA Today also reported on the heated arguments.  And so did the Washington Post.

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