We sent ZackFord on an assignment to go back in time and reveal what might have been in the über-close June 28 vote by the Supreme Court. Here are his findings:
In a groundbreaking decision this week, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that nondiscrimination policies at American public universities are unconstitutional.
In a 5-4 decision for a case named Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, the court ruled in favor of the Christian student group, arguing that Hastings College of Law was violating students’ freedom of expression when it refused to recognize the group for its discrimination against “gay” and non-Christian students.
Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that “there must be freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning,” adding that nondiscrimination policies have been “a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups.”
In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas offered that “the most important precedent in our institutions of higher learning is to ensure that one small population of students with a particular religious belief can determine the campus’s climate for everyone and enjoy the university’s endorsement for that belief.”
The decision has immediate impact on all public universities. There is already chatter that many student groups are forming new alliances with religious organizations. Their hope is to use this new protection to prevent infiltration by imposter students seeking to undo the missions of their organizations, a problem that has plagued student groups for decades.
“All college students, including religious students, should have the right to form groups around shared beliefs without being banished from campus,” said Kim Colby, senior counsel at the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued in the dissent that no First Amendment rights had been violated, but the majority opinion points out that nondiscrimination policies, in fact, endorse viewpoint discrimination by forbidding groups like the Christian Legal Society from refusing members whose identities they believe to be abhorrent.
This decision raises new complications for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, who is defending her actions as Dean of Harvard Law School regarding allowing military recruiters. She has condemned the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy as “unwise” and “unjust,” but admits this week’s decision changes things. “Nondiscrimination policies are now unconstitutional,” she testified. “It’s settled law.”
A press release from the Ku Klux Klan in response to the decision indicated optimism that the group’s values might finally see “the prominence and support they deserve” on college campuses. Representatives from various HBCUs could not be reached for comment.