Monday, April 19, 2010

Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Christian Legal Society's Clash With Hastings' Discrimination Rules -- [Updated With Link To Transcript]

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning heard oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. In the case, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of University of California's Hastings College of Law to impose its policy against discrimination on the basis of religion and sexual orientation on a student religious group seeking formal recognition. (See prior posting.) AP reports that the Justices seemed sharply split:
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito questioned the school's lawyer sharply, saying that being forced to admit someone who doesn't share their beliefs was a threat to the group. But Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor pressed the group's lawyer on notion that if they can ban gays, other groups can legally ban women and minorities.
Scotus Blog last week had an excellent background article on the case. Scotus Wiki has links to all the briefs and much more background. An editorial titled The End of Religious Freedom? in Christianity Today outlines the arguments of Christian religious groups who hope that the 9th circuit will be reversed; while an editorial in today's New York Times titled A Case of Discrimination urges the Court to support the University's position.

The full transcript of the arguments is available online. Scotus Blog also has podcasts of the oral arguments of counsel for both sides, recorded before the actual argument. Last week, the Court turned down media requests for same-day release of the audio tapes of oral arguments in the case. According to the National Law Journal, this is the seventh time this term that such requests have been rejected.

UPDATE: Constitutional Law Prof Blog also has an interesting analysis of the oral argument.