(CN) – A split Supreme Court on Monday tossed a challenge by a group of Christian law school students who claimed their constitutional rights were trampled when UC Hastings College of Law denied them official school status for refusing to admit homosexuals into their group.
The justices say the college did not violate the First Amendment rights of the Christian group, and that the policy that official student groups accept “all comers” was a reasonable application of its anti-discriminatory policies.
The Christian Legal Society chapter was formed at the law school in 2004, and was denied official recognition because it required members to decry gay marriage.
The group sued, claiming it lost out on the recognition and the financial benefits that comes with that because of its viewpoints.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was joined in the majority by Justices John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer and Sonya Sotomayor, wrote that the court was only ruling on the question of whether or not a school violates the Constitution by granting or withholding official campus recognition based on its “welcome all-comers” policy.
“This case concerns a novel question regarding student activities at public universities,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote. “May a public law school condition its official recognition of a student group – and the attendant use of school funds and facilities – on the organization’s agreement to open eligibility and leadership to all students?”
“Compliance with Hastings’ all-comers policy … is a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral condition on access to the student-organization forum.”