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CLS, ADF attorneys available to media following oral argument at U.S. Supreme Court Monday

High court to hear arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez
Published On: 10/18/2017

                       
                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                   
Christian Legal Society v. Martinez:
                                   
What’s at Stake?
                                   
·   The freedom of all student groups to choose leaders who share their beliefs, free from undue government pressure and the threat of exclusion from campus life.
                                   
·   Whether a public law school may exclude a religious student organization from a speech forum solely because the group requires its leaders to share its core religious commitments.
                                   
·   Students’ First Amendment-protected rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association on campus.
                                   
·   Whether the state is able to play “free speech favorites” by limiting debate to “approved” views and withholding recognition from groups who have different views.

WHO: Lead Counsel Michael W. McConnell, CLS Senior Counsel Kim Colby, ADF Senior Counsel David French, ADF Senior Legal Counsel Gregory S. Baylor
WHAT: Available for interviews following oral argument in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez
WHEN: Monday, April 19, immediately following oral argument, which begins at 10 a.m. EDT
WHERE: U.S. Supreme Court, 1 First St. N.E., Washington

WASHINGTON — Attorneys representing a student chapter of the Christian Legal Society at California’s Hastings College of the Law will be available for media interviews outside the U.S. Supreme Court following oral argument Monday in the chapter’s lawsuit against the school. The high court agreed in December to hear the case, filed by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom.

“All students, including Christians, have the right to form groups around shared beliefs without being excluded from campus life,” said Kim Colby, senior counsel at the CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom.  “The Constitution trumps a campus policy. The Constitution protects the freedom of private student groups to select their messages and their leaders.”

ADF and CLS attorneys filed suit on behalf of the CLS student chapter in 2004 after Hastings College of the Law refused to recognize the group because it requires all of its officers and voting members to subscribe to its basic Christian beliefs. Twenty-two friend-of-the-court briefs from a broad and diverse array of nearly 100 parties have been filed with the Supreme Court in support of the CLS chapter, including a brief filed by 14 state attorneys general.

“Forcing CLS to have an atheist lead its Bible studies is as absurd as the College Democrats being forced to elect Republican officers—which under the current Hastings policy is indeed required,” explained ADF Senior Legal Counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “If the court makes the right decision in this case, your son or daughter--grandchild, niece, or nephew--will be free to be Christian and still be treated equally on public university campuses.”

Lead counsel Michael W. McConnell, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, will argue before the court Monday on behalf of the CLS chapter.

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.