The University of California Hastings College of the Law case, which the U.S. Supreme Court heard on April 19, has its share of absurdity, but what’s missing is outrage.
This one is about the school denying recognition to a Christian Legal Society campus chapter because it will not have atheists or homosexuals as officers. Yes, I know it’s absurd on the face of it. It’s like insisting that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals be forced to install meat-lovin’ rocker Ted Nugent.
It’s bad enough that a prestigious law school itself committed unconstitutional discrimination against a Christian club.
It’s even more unsettling that some Supreme Court justices can’t fathom the difference between genuine civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution and newly coined identity-based “rights” emanating from the infinitely expandable right to privacy. That’s the one discovered in the birth control cases, perfected in Roe v. Wade, and elevated to cosmic heights in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, where Justice Kennedy emoted that the meaning of the universe is thesearch for the meaning of the universe.
Sonia Sotomayor, the newest Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, showed why 31 Senators voted against her. She opined that a college club that upholds rules about sexual morality and faith is like, racist or sexist, man: “Are you suggesting that if a group wanted to exclude all black people, all women, all other forms of discrimination a group wants to practice, that a school has to accept that group and recognize it, give it funds, and otherwise lend it space?”
Well, there goes the men’s rugby team. And the campus NOW chapter.
Michael McConnell, gamely representing the Christian Legal Society, replied to Justice Sotomayor that a group may discriminate on the basis of beliefs, not status. Backing Sotomayor’s line, Justice John Paul Stevens asked, “What if the belief is that African Americans are inferior?”
McConnell patiently repeated that this was still about beliefs, not status. He got help from Chief Justice John Roberts, who said, “Gender or race is fundamentally different from religious belief. Gender and race is a status. Religious belief has to be based on the fundamental notion that we are not open to everybody. We have beliefs; you have to subscribe to them. And we have always regarded that as a good thing.”