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U.S. Supreme Court Decision Could Impact Public Educational Institutions

July 6, 2010

The Hastings College of Law in California maintains a non-discrimination policy for its clubs, barring discrimination in membership on a number of bases, including religion and sexual orientation. The Christian Legal Society objected, and attempted to block membership to homosexuals or those who held religious convictions other than those included in the club's "statement of faith." Both the trial court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law school's non-discrimination policy was reasonable and viewpoint neutral. On June 28, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed those decisions.

The Supreme Court held that the so called "all-comers" policy is a reasonable, neutral condition for access to clubs and organizations at the law school. Accordingly, the Supreme Court upheld the Hastings College of Law's non-discrimination policy.

This decision could impact clubs/organizations at any public educational institution, as the Supreme Court's "all comers" policy could become the industry standard.