— The U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to hear the University of Wisconsin’s appeal of an appellate court ruling in favor of a Catholic student group at the university’s Madison campus.
“The constitutional rights of Christian student organizations should be recognized by university officials just as they recognize those rights for other student groups,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. “The 7th Circuit’s decision was a good one for the constitutionally protected free speech rights of students, so the high court did the right thing in allowing it to stand. The university funded the advocacy and expression of other student organizations but singled out a Catholic student organization to exclude funding some of its expression based purely upon its religious content, and that’s simply not constitutional.”
In September 2010, the 7th Circuit ruled in Badger Catholic v. Walsh that University of Wisconsin-Madison officials violated the First Amendment by refusing to fund certain events of Badger Catholic, a registered student group, while providing funding for the events of other student organizations. The university refused funds from student activity fees because the student group’s events contained religious expression, including prayer, worship, and proselytization. The 7th Circuit affirmed lower court rulings that concluded the funding refusal amounted to unconstitutional discrimination based on viewpoint.
ADF filed suit after the university violated the terms of a settlement agreement reached in a previous lawsuit ADF filed on behalf of the same group when it was known as the Roman Catholic Foundation.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.