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Court Upholds Forced Association on Campus

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a California law school is not required to recognize religious groups that have closed or discriminatory membership requirements. In essence, this mean that the college can defund any campus religious group that requires its members to follow a particular faith.

David French over at Phi Beta Cons sums up why this a horrible precedent:

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?

Of course, the ruling extends beyond religious groups to any campus club or organization. Maybe it’s a reductio ad absurdum, but I wonder what this kind of “non-discriminatory environment” would look like at large. For example, the Oregon Commentator has pretty loose membership requirements, aside from my explicit “no hippie nonsense or ASUO fan-fiction” rule. Could the magazine be defunded for not printing or associating with hippie nonsense?

Likewise, could I go to the Student Insurgent and demand to have my articles on laissez-faire capitalism printed? Like French notes, what happens to distinctive voice when you have no control over membership? Or, as the late great Groucho Marx once said, “I don’t care to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”

Cross-posted at Campus Magazine Online.

  1. Vincent says:

    But I will just say that using the

  2. Betz says:

    I’m a little perplexed about one thing about the circuit court ruling … if the law dictates, as Vincent claims, that “groups are disallowed from reserving voting and leadership positions to people who agree with the group

  3. Vincent says:

    What kind of shitty, North Korean manufactured network card do you have?

  4. I mostly agree with the previous poster. I really think groups on campus should focus on getting their own damned monies. I enjoy using the plural of money even when I’m using it the wrong way. I also think that it would lead to better guidelines about what the club is really about, which would bring more transparency and lower the I-fee(unless they didn’t want any money, at which point their group isn’t recognized).

    So I’m not sure why the commentator would be against these ideas.

    I also use Ubuntu a lot which was developed off of debian. I also think that the open source ideas and groups are probably the best living example of my political views.

    I don’t however, like it when my network card causes a fucking freeze up when it connects to my router.

  5. Vincent says:

    While I have to give you points for being consistent (and for using Debian), I don’t really think your argument holds up. It’s rather easy to find programs that are funded, wholly or in part, by public money and who deny benefits to members of the public based on a whole host of traits, ranging from physical to economic to racial. Affirmative action comes to mind.

    You say “There

  6. Michael M. says:

    If your answer is

  7. Vincent says:

    Maybe he likes Debian, as all right-thinking people should.

  8. Betz says:

    Right on. I can understand Micheal’s point, but as the last two posters alluded to, the correct follow-up question should be “Why do we have public organizations that, by their very name and nature, encourage private or exclusive membership?”

    Riddle me that, batman…

    BTW Mike, why does your link go to the Debian page?

  9. Sakaki says:

    Vincent articulated perfectly every point I could have made on this subject. With this ruling, all Multicultural center-surrounding unions will have to cease or will have to allow other folk in.

  10. Vincent says:

    Let me help you out here, Mike. I said, in the very first comment under this post, directly above your post:

    The question is whether or not the courts would

  11. Michael M. says:

    Would you apply this same standard to the examples I gave above?

    You didn’t give any examples, except to say that Oregon Commentator has loose membership rules, which presumably would pass muster. The ruling says nothing about forcing any campus journal to print anything. “Reductio ad absurdum,” indeed.

    It’s funny, isn’t it, that none of your disparaging commenters can come up with one cogent opinion about why a publicly funded organization should be able to take public money, then categorically deny certain members of the public the option to participate in the organization they are paying for. I think that is a pretty good indication that the 9th Circuit got it right, especially when all you can come up with are unrelated questions that don’t apply to the ruling.

    It is far more of an encroachment on freedom of association that the state forces many private entities not to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, and sexual orientation than that the state forces an entity accepting public money to do the same.

  12. Josh M. says:

    Well, the Ninth Circuit has always been a bastion of originalist thought, so I’ll let this one slide…

  13. Vincent says:

    That’s an insult to kangaroos.

  14. Timothy says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out given Southworth and Rosenberger. Silly kangaroo 9th circuit.

  15. Anthony says:

    What a horrible ruling from the 9th circuit court.

  16. Vincent says:

    If you want to have a private, restrictive group, then keep it private. Pay for it yourself. Stop expecting the rest of us who don

  17. Sakaki says:

    I guess this means if I go back to grad school, Hillel will have to take me in.

    It’s SEDER TIME!

  18. Michael M. says:

    Mr. French’s analogy is way off the mark, unless his hypothetical Baptist church or synagogue was being publicly funded. The law school isn’t telling the group who it can or can’t elect as its leader or who can or can’t qualify for membership; the law school is defending its right to set rules that apply to every student group it funds across the board. I fail to grasp why any student group that wants money from its school thinks it should have the right to exclude whatever students it feels like excluding, while taking their money.

    If you want to have a private, restrictive group, then keep it private. Pay for it yourself. Stop expecting the rest of us who don’t believe in your particular mythology to pay for your folly.

  19. Vincent says:

    The question is whether or not the courts would’ve ruled the same if it had been a neo-Nazi trying to join a Jewish students union or a white separatist (or any white person) joining a Black students union.

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