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Stephen K's Comments

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huffingtonpost entry

Supreme Court's CLS Decision Sucker-Punches First Amendment

Commented Jun 28, 2010 at 20:25:49 in College

“I'm failing to see the connection between this opinion and how this result "makes it easier to strip students of fundamental rights". If I'm not mistaken, the College cannot discriminate against an individual student on the basis of religion et al, even if a student's religious practices are inherently discriminatory. Likewise, referring to the example you gave, LGBT students would not be excluded, regardless of their political activities. If these students organize into a LGBT student group the college couldn't exclude them either, as long as they did not filter their student membership on a discriminatory basis.

There are dozens of special-interest organizations recognized by the college I attend, and by the university as a whole: Pro-choice, Pro-life, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Native American, and LGBT to name just a few. The common denominator is that any student can join any of these groups, participate in all activities, vote, and run for office. CLS chose to discriminate fellow students on the basis of religious and sexual orientation; they even went so far as to exclude hetersexual students whom engage in extra-martial sex. Don't forget CLS was seeking special exemption from the university's nondiscrimination policy. Contrary your assertion, the result was in fact "Yes, you have rights" (the right to forum, just as everyone else), but not "You can have more rights than others" (i.e.: an exemption - the right to use college money/resources AND discriminate against fellow students).”

hp blogger Adam Goldstein on Jun 29, 2010 at 12:58:08

“Ah, yeah, there's a wrinkle to this you haven't seen yet. Read the opinion again and see where it says students ever have a right to anything.

The court says the school can enforce this policy because CLS students don't have a right that trumps the policy. A school could very easily write another policy that LBGT students wouldn't have a right to trump;

The opinion doesn't grant any students the rights to anything. It just says the policy can determine what groups get money, as long as it's viewpoint neutral. It would also be viewpoint neutral to write a policy that says groups can limit membership for any reason or no reason. Or to write a policy that mirrors "faith-based initiatives."

This policy just says the school decides how students divide themselves, not that they can't do it.

And still, there's something off about making students pay into this fund and then deciding it has to be reallocated in ways that they might not be able to ideologically stomach. Really, it's a bit like requiring students to pay into a meal plan that only serves meat dishes, and telling the vegetarians tough luck, because science can prove protein is good for you. Well, maybe it can, but there's got to be a better way of getting that message across than giving them the finger.”
huffingtonpost entry

Supreme Court's CLS Decision Sucker-Punches First Amendment

Commented Jun 28, 2010 at 18:10:24 in College

“Excellent article. It really made me think about the case and of the faulty logic employed. I do admit that my initial reaction was in-line with the previous posters. While I do "like" the outcome of the case, I fear that limited technical expertise in law precludes an accurate rebuttal. As you noted above, more suitable examples of precedents should have been utilized.

I do find it a bit ironic that CLS, a self-identified discriminatory group, is suing essentially because they are now being discriminated against. It should be noted that if CLS were to cast aside their fear of usurpation, and drop their written discriminatory policy ("Statement of Faith") thereby allowing "all comers" to join, the College would have no reason for prohibiting their status. Further, the faiths of the individual members would not be comprised and they could all continue discriminating, just not as a College-recognized & funded group.

I think it would have served the court better to ask: does a college have the right to withhold funding/recognition/resources to a group on the basis that said group would use these resources to promote a discriminatory agenda and actively discriminate against fellow students?”

hp blogger Adam Goldstein on Jun 28, 2010 at 18:46:28

“Thanks! Here's the thing about this opinion: the court went far out of its way to make clear that the reason CLS lost is that students lack the right to limit their associations if they want to tap into a pool of money that they all paid into for the purpose of associating with one another.

Wouldn't it have been much easier to say LGBT students have a fundamental right to attend?

For all the cheering for the outcome, people are missing the point that the result wasn't, "Yes, you have rights," but, "These people have slightly fewer rights than you do." Cheering for that makes me uncomfortable, particularly when the outcome was balanced on nothing more than the occasion to have two more ideological allies than the other side.

Perhaps the biggest evidence of that is that you can use the exact same rationale to reach the opposite conclusion. I mean, if LBGT students own computers and would stay politically active without attending CLS meetings, you can say the school only has to have a legitimate goal to exclude them, and diversity of opinion on campus is a legitimate goal.

That makes me nervous. The result here walks a path that makes it easier to strip students of fundamental rights and people are lining the parade route, cheering.”