Skip to content

Christian student group continues fight for First Amendment rights at UC-Hastings

CLS student organization appeals lawsuit against school officials to 9th Circuit

SAN FRANCISCO — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom filed a notice of appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Wednesday on behalf of the student CLS chapter at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

“Christian student groups should not be treated differently from other student groups that wish to maintain their own identity and core beliefs,” said Litigation Counsel Tim Tracey of CLS’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom.  “School officials need to realize the difference between invidious discrimination and merely seeking to maintain a Christian identity.  How long is a Christian student group going to remain Christian if it can’t require its leaders to support its beliefs?”

Almost two years ago, UC-Hastings officials denied the student group official recognition because the school believed the group’s requirement that officers and voting members hold to the group’s Christian beliefs constituted “discrimination.”

University officials claim that the CLS chapter’s officer and voting member criteria violate the school’s “Policy on Nondiscrimination.”  The policy requires religious groups, like the CLS chapter, to confer the privileges of leadership and voting membership on students who oppose the group’s religious beliefs.

ADF and CLS attorneys filed suit against UC Hastings officials in October 2004, claiming that the nondiscrimination policy targets religious student groups and violates their First Amendment rights.  Last month a California district court ruled that the college had not violated the CLS chapter’s constitutional rights.  The chapter is now asking the 9th Circuit to reverse the district court’s ruling in Christian Legal Society of University of California, Hastings College of the Law v. Kane and order the school to stop violating the First Amendment rights of the group.

Together, ADF, America’s largest legal alliance, and CLS, America’s premier membership organization of Christian legal professionals, defend religious liberty, human life, marriage, and the family.