(CN) - The 9th Circuit rejected a challenge to the University of California's admission policy, brought by Christian schools and students who said the university discriminates by refusing to approve certain high-school religious and ethics courses.
"As a university, one of UC's 'essential freedoms' is to 'determine for itself on academic grounds ... who may be admitted to study,'" the court wrote, quoting a 1957 Supreme Court decision. "UC exercises that freedom by reviewing high school courses to ensure that they adequately prepare incoming students for the rigors of academic study at UC."
The Association of Christian Schools International, Calvary Chapel Christian School and five of its students appealed a district court ruling that UC's admission policy is constitutional.
The schools claimed that UC rejects courses taken at Christian high schools because those courses allegedly "add a religious viewpoint."
UC's policy is to approve only courses that "treat the study of religion or ethics from a standpoint of scholarly inquiry, rather than in a manner limited to one denomination or viewpoint."
The 9th Circuit said the schools and students offered no evidence to back up their claim that the policy leads to the suppression of speech.
"Nor can they," the Pasadena-based appellate panel ruled. "It is undisputed that UC's policy does not prohibit or otherwise prevent high schools, including Calvary, from teaching whatever and however they choose or students from taking any course they wish."
Alternatively, the plaintiffs argued that certain "issues of fact" precluded summary judgment against them.
But the plaintiffs forfeited this claim, according to the court. Instead of identifying facts and making arguments, the plaintiffs merely cited various sources, "leaving this court to 'piece together' their argument," the panel ruled.
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