Guest / Limited Access /

Headlines today are calling the Supreme Court sharply divided over whether a University of California law school can require its Christian Legal Society chapter to open its leadership to all students, including critics and non-Christians.

But there was sharp agreement, too: At some point during yesterday's oral arguments, nearly every justice wondered aloud what they were supposed to be discussing.

Justice Anthony Kennedy put it most baldly. "What is the case that we have here?" he asked. "It's frustrating for us not to know what kind of case we have in front of us."

Likewise, Justice Sonia Sotomayor admitted, "I'm not quite sure what the record is on these issues. I'm somewhat confused on the factual assumptions underlying this case."

In theory, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez could be a very important case, with both sides worried about discrimination. UC-Hastings wants to ensure that students aren't discriminated against in any campus context on the basis of sexual orientation, religion, gender, race, or handicap. The Christian Legal Society (CLS) chapter says the school's policy that it must open its leadership to those who disagree with its core beliefs is discriminatory.

The stakes can be seen in the prominence of the lawyers in the case: CLS is represented by Michael McConnell, who served on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, now heads the Stanford Constitutional Law Center, and is one of the country's foremost scholars on the religion clauses of the Constitution. (Notably, McConnell played down the religious freedom implications of the dispute in yesterday's proceedings.) UC-Hastings is represented by Gregory Garre, George W. Bush's last U.S. Solicitor General and (according to The National Law Journal's Tony Mauro) ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueGene Yang: A Graphic Novelist Caught Between Two Worlds
Subscriber Access Only
Gene Yang: A Graphic Novelist Caught Between Two Worlds
The graphic novelist and MacArthur Grant recipient sees his life as an outsider as a blessing.
RecommendedUnder DeVos, the Real School Choice Christians Face
Under DeVos, the Real School Choice Christians Face
The future of public education will depend on the church.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
Supreme Court on Major Discrimination Case: 'Huh?'
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.