Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Casey Mattox discusses religious student groups and nondiscrimination rules on Freedom's Ring Radio

The Center's Casey Mattox discusses religious student groups and nondiscrimination rules at public universities with attorney Alan J. Reinach on Freedom's Ring Radio. Download the fourteen minute interview podcast here. Note: this show was recorded prior to the Ninth Circuit's ruling in CLS v. Kane (UC Hastings).

David French comments on CLS v. Kane at Phi Beta Cons

David French, ADF Senior Legal Counsel and Director of ADF’s Center For Academic Freedom, comments on Christian Legal Society v. Kane at Phi Beta Cons on National Review Online:

From a common-sense standpoint, this is absurd. Imagine telling a Baptist church that its search for a new pastor had to include equal consideration of Buddhist or Hindu candidates. Imagine telling a synagogue that they were engaged in unlawful "discrimination" if they categorically refused to permit imams from
functioning as rabbis. How can student guarantee that they can maintain their distinctive voice if each group essentially has to be open to all students, regardless of those students' beliefs or intentions?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Center attorney on CBN discussing CLS v. Kane (video)

Center attorney Timothy J. Tracey appeared on CBN News today to discuss the Ninth Circuit panel's decision in Christian Legal Society v. Kane. Read the story and watch the video here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tell the Obama Administration to Enforce Laws Protecting Conscience Rights

As previously noted, the Department of Health and Human Services has now moved to rescind the federal regulations prohibiting federal grantees from discriminating against medical professionals and institutions that decline to perform or refer for abortions or against medical students that do not wish to train in the performance of abortions. The proposed rescission has now been published in the federal register, triggering a 30 day period for public comment on rescinding this rule. Despite earlier media statements from unnamed HHS officials, the Administration has not proposed simply to "clarify" the rule, but have proposed completely throwing out the conscience protection rule altogether.

The conscience protection rule imposes no new obligations on federal grantees, but requires HHS grantees to certify that they will comply with three federal laws, the Church Amendments, Coats-Snowe Amendment, and Weldon Amendment. It also provides for a process by which a medical professional or institution may report their discriminatory treatment to HHS so that the agency may take action.

HHS previously explained that the rule was necessary, in part, because grantees and the public are unaware of these statutory protections - a fact confirmed in the lawsuits CLRF has been involved in defending medical conscience rights. HHS also explained that discriminatory treatment of medical professionals and institutions also threatened access to health care by driving pro-life medical professionals from the profession and causing faith-centered medical institutions (like Catholic hospitals) to close their doors rather than perform abortions.

The public, whether medical professionals, patients, or others interested, are invited to file public comments on the proposed rescission of the HHS rule. While stories of discrimination you or others have faced is helpful, ANY comment, even a few sentences, is helpful.

A website [http://www.freedom2care.org/] has been created to help facilitate complaints of discrimination and submission of comments to HHS in support of the existing regulations and in opposition to their rescission. You can also share the link with your facebook and twitter friends.

Comments are due by April 8, but do it today!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Listen to the Christian Legal Society v. Kane oral argument

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has posted the audio recording of the CLS v. Kane (Newton/UC Hastings) (# 06-15956) oral argument before Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, Judge Proctor Hug, Jr., and Judge Carlos T. Bea.

Timothy J. Tracey of the Center for Law & Religious Freedom presented the argument for CLS and Ethan P. Schulman of Folger Levin & Kahn, LLP presented the argument for UC Hastings.

The audio file can be streamed or downloaded (Windows Media Player required).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

RE: Oral Argument Tomorrow in CLS Chapter Nondiscrimination Case

To follow up on Greg's post, please see the CLS webpage on Christian Legal Society v. Kane (aka Christian Legal Society v. Newton) for a summary of the case, a copy of the opinion below, and the parties' briefs, as well as other documents.

The Seventh Circuit's opinion in Christian Legal Society v. Walker, 453 F.3d 853 (7th Cir. 2006) (Southern Illinois University) may be downloaded here.

Also of interest: a recent law review article by Joan Howarth, Dean of the Michigan State University College of Law, Teaching Freedom: Exclusionary Rights of Student Groups, 42 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 889 (2009), which discusses CLS v. Walker and CLS v. Kane, as well as related cases. From the abstract:

Progressive, antisubordination values support robust First Amendment protection for high school and university students, including strong rights of expressive association, even when those rights clash with educational institutions’ nondiscrimination policies.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oral Argument Tomorrow in CLS Chapter Nondiscrimination Case

CLS Center attorney Tim Tracey will present oral argument tomorrow to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Christian Legal Society v. Kane.

The case arose when the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco withdrew recognition and its benefits from the law school's Christian Legal Society chapter. The chapter draws its leaders and voting members from among those who voluntarily profess faith in Christ and who attempt to abide by CLS's standards of conduct. Hastings labeled this "discrimination" on the basis of religion and "sexual orientation."

Represented by CLS's Center for Law & Religious Freedom, the Center filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court. The district court ruled against the chapter, and it appealed.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has already ruled for a CLS chapter in a virtually identical dispute. That court held that Southern Illinois University violated the Constitution by withholding recognition from its CLS chapter based upon its alleged violation of the school's nondiscrimination policy.