Justices split sharply on school’s bias policy

Pat McMahon Contributor
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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court struggled Monday with whether a state-run law school may refuse to recognize a religious student group that excludes gay students and non-Christians.

“Why doesn’t this just all work out?” Justice Anthony Kennedy asked in frustration about why the conflict is before the court in the first place. “If the Christian Legal Society has these beliefs, I am not so sure why people that don’t agree with them want to belong to them.”

The case pits a university’s interest in safeguarding students from discrimination against a religious group’s interest in preserving its identity and message by limiting participation.

In some respects, the justices appeared divided along ideological lines. Liberal-leaning justices such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg sympathized with the anti-bias goals of the University of California-Hastings College of Law, and more conservative justices such as Samuel Alito seemed inclined toward the students.

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