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Broad support for Christian student group reflected in numerous briefs filed with Supreme Court

Friend-of-the-court briefs favorable to position of ADF, CLS demonstrate breadth, diversity of support

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court received 22 friend-of-the-court briefs Thursday in support of a Christian Legal Society chapter’s lawsuit against California’s Hastings College of the Law. The briefs demonstrate the breadth and diversity of support for the group’s rights protected by the First Amendment, according to attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom who are litigating the case and filed their brief in the case on Jan. 28.

Among the nearly 100 parties that filed briefs in support of the position of ADF and CLS in the case are 14 state attorneys general and a large number of diverse groups holding to a very wide range of beliefs and practices.

“Christian student groups shouldn’t be forced to deny their faith in order to be treated the same as other student groups. This support--from organizations that fall across the spectrum in their religious, political, and ideological viewpoints--amply testifies to the importance of this case for all,” said Senior Counsel Kim Colby with the CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom. “True tolerance and real diversity require that each group be able to ensure that its leaders agree with its core mission.”

“Just as all student groups have the right to associate with people who share common beliefs and interests, Christian student groups have the right to be Christian student groups,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “Requiring leaders of a Christian club to live by a Christian code of conduct is no different than an environmentalist club requiring its leaders not to be lumberjacks.”

Attorneys general for Michigan, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Alabama, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Louisiana, West Virginia, and South Dakota filed a joint brief with the court in support of CLS.

Among the numerous and diverse groups that also filed briefs in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez are Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Boy Scouts of America, Cato Institute, Coalition of African-American Pastors, Compassion International, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, World Vision, and two dozen past presidents of the Evangelical Theological Society. 

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom defends religious freedom at America’s public universities. ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. The CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom is the advocacy division of the Christian Legal Society, a nationwide association of Christian attorneys, law students, law professors, and judges.

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Gregory S. Baylor
Gregory S. Baylor
Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Religious Schools
Gregory S. Baylor serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is the director of the Center for Religious Schools and senior counsel with the Center for Public Policy.