SocraticGadfly: Can a college discriminate against a religious group?

April 18, 2010

Can a college discriminate against a religious group?

Even when the religious group itself has anti-gay policies? And, it's a public university which has anti-anti-gay policies? California's Hastings College of the Law is about to find out the Supreme Court verdict.

That said, given one previous case, won before SCOTUS by the lawyer now representing Christian Legal Society, says that Hastings is probably up a creek without a paddle.

That all said, Hastings has an easy answer: Refuse to give official recognition to any on-campus group. The flip side is that many groups don't have the financial backing of conservative religious organizations.

On a more serious note yet, contra what some atheists might think, and even without previous SCOTUS ruling, I don't think this is a cut-and-dried issue. If anything, I learn toward the side of the religious organization.

Meanwhile, Dahlia Lithwick notes that SCOTUS is a "fine" place to learn about the realities of free association. At the same time, it looks like both sides botched their oral arguments pretty badly.

Update: SCOTUS, on the "normal" 5-4 count in the Kennedy era, ruled for Hastings.

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