People For the American Way Foundation

Supreme Court Rules Against Government-Aided Discrimination


Contact: Drew Courtney or Miranda Blue at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

The Supreme Court ruled today in a 5-4 decision that a publicly funded law school need not provide funding and recognition to a campus group with policies that discriminate based on religion and sexual orientation. People For the American Way Foundation filed an amicus brief with other civil rights organizations in support of Hastings College of Law in the case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. The brief emphasized that the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the right of the states to withhold public funding that would support discrimination:

Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way Foundation, said:

“The Christian Legal Society’s argument, that the government must fund religious discrimination, turns the Bill of Rights on its head. Nowhere does the First Amendment imply that the government must actively aid discrimination on the basis of religion or sexual orientation; in fact, it doesn’t take a constitutional expert to point out the lines that say the opposite. It’s troubling that the Court’s four conservative justices were willing to invent a novel and backwards interpretation of the First Amendment. The majority exercised proper restraint and common sense in refusing to legitimize CLS’s claim.”