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Won U.S. Supreme Court

Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

Beware the Bias Investigators


A student group at the University of Virginia that published a Christian newspaper was denied funding to cover the costs of printing the paper, even though the university made this funding available to other student publications. Administrators denied the students’ request for funding because of the Christian viewpoint of the publication, claiming that funding the newspaper would violate the First Amendment rule against establishing a state religion. With funding from Alliance Defending Freedom, the students filed a lawsuit to challenge this denial and protect their right to speak freely consistent with their Christian viewpoint.

Both a federal trial court and a federal court of appeals ruled against the students, but the United States Supreme Court heard their case. ADF helped provide funding to support the legal team that represented the students and to an allied organization to file an amicus brief in support of the students.

In June 1995, the High Court ruled in the students’ favor, holding that the denial of funding to the Christian newspaper violated their free speech rights and constituted illegal viewpoint discrimination. A neutral funding program that makes funding available to all student groups does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, even if money is directed to a group with a religious viewpoint. 

Religious student groups are entitled to receive funding and other benefits on campus on an equal basis with other student groups.

Case Documents

U.S. Supreme Court