ADL Urges Supreme Court To Uphold State University's Nondiscrimination Requirement

New York, NY, March 16, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a state university's requirement that officially recognized student organizations adhere to the university's nondiscrimination policy.

In Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a religious student group that obligated all members to take a declaration of faith challenged the school's requirement.

Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, issued the following statement:

The challenge brought by the Christian Legal Society against the University of California Hastings Law School is misguided. While religious groups should be allowed to limit their membership to those that share their religious beliefs, once such groups receive government funding, they must adhere to the nondiscrimination requirements placed on all recipients of those funds.

Hastings Law School made the correct decision to apply its nondiscrimination policy to all university recognized student organizations on campus. The school's right to enforce such a policy should not be limited.

A decision in this case may have far-reaching consequences in other areas of public policy, including employment discrimination. Some religious organizations that receive government funds have sought to be excused from laws that prohibit discrimination in hiring. Taxpayer money should never be used to fund any position for which an employer could advertise "No Jews, No Catholics, No Muslims (or no practitioners of any other particular religion) Need Apply." Any other decision would set back years of hard-earned civil rights progress.

ADL led a coalition of organizations in filing an amicus brief, which argues that a decision against the law school in this case could have devastating consequences for the interpretation of employment discrimination hiring in the context of organizations involved with the Administration's Faith-Based and Community Partnerships initiative. The brief was authored by the firm Weil Gotshal & Manges.