Current Issues
Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez
February 6, 2010

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

Washington, DC – Liberty Counsel has filed an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court supporting a law school student group of the Christian Legal Society (“CLS”). The CLS group naturally requires voting members and officers to uphold basic Christian principles and thus was denied the same student funds allowed to all other student groups at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, a public law school in San Francisco.

When a school provides equal access to everyone except a Christian group, it is discrimination plain and simple. Liberty Counsel has filed the amicus brief on behalf of Child Evangelism Fellowship and Lamb’s Chapel, both of which won ground-breaking equal access cases before the United States Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court sides with Hastings College of Law, then equal access under the First Amendment will be set back.

In 2004 the Christian Legal Society required voting members to sign a statement committing to orthodox Christian beliefs and disallowing a student to vote if he or she “advocates or unrepentantly engages in sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman.” The school refused to even recognize the group, claiming that its membership requirements violated the school’s policy against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Christian Legal Society then filed suit. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the law school.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 in Good News Club v. Milford Central School that whenever the government establishes a “limited public forum,” it may not discriminate against speech because of its Christian viewpoint. Liberty Counsel’s brief focuses on Good News Club and how the Ninth Circuit’s ruling will adversely affect the equal access rights granted to religious groups in Good News Club.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Of all places, you would expect a law school to respect the robust freedom of the First Amendment. But, political correctness often blinds even the best from the clear commands and protections of the Constitution. A public law school cannot give the boot to a Christian group simply because its views do not conform to the school’s discriminatory policies.”