October 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 291

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October 18, 2021

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October 15, 2021

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

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.

© 2021 Bracewell LLPNational Law Review, Volume , Number 184
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About this Author

Kelly Frels, managing partner, bracewell law firm
Senior Counsel

Kelly Frels, the firm's managing partner from 1995 through 2001 and the managing partner of the Houston office from 2001 to 2003, has been an attorney for public and private schools, community colleges, universities and other public bodies for more than 40 years. His current focus is providing counsel in governance, employment, desegregation and other civil rights issues. He also serves as a mediator in education disputes.

713-221-1203
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