Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ruling Soon in Student Aid Case?

U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger appears to be poised to rule on cross-motions for summary judgment in Colorado Christian University v. Weaver, a case challenging various Colorado statutes denying state student aid to students attending "pervasively sectarian" schools. The state deemed Colorado Christian University (CCU) to be pervasively sectarian. Its students are ineligible for aid without regard to what they major in.

Today, Judge Krieger vacated a May trial date and declined to schedule a pretrial conference. Judge Krieger also indicated that a substantive ruling on the cross-motions for summary judgment "shall issue." One could reasonably infer that the ruling will issue in the near future.

The outcome of this case is obviously important to CCU and its students. It also might be important doctrinally. In Locke v. Davey, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Washington did not violate the Free Exercise Clause by denying aid to students training for the clergy. Some have argued that the Locke decision gives government carte blanche to discriminate against religion in the funding context. Others -- including the CLS Center, which represents CCU in this case -- contend that Locke hardly stands for such a broad and problematic proposition.

Stay tuned.