Battle of Hastings

Julie Nice, How Equality Constitutes Liberty: The Alignment of CLS v. Martinez, 38 Hastings Const. L.Q. 631 (2011), available at SSRN. Ruthann Robson The controversial decision of the United States Supreme Court last year in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez involved a dispute at Hastings College of Law. On one side, the College of Law applied its blanket nondiscrimination policy as a prerequisite for recognition of student groups. On the other side, the student organization Christian Legal Society, backed by the national organization, argued that a nondiscrimination policy that included sexual orientation infringed on its religious freedom. Thus, the case can be easily understood as just another battle in the continuing war between equality (for sexual minorities) and liberty (of religious freedom) fought on the field of various First Amendment doctrines. Too much of what I've read about the case succumbs to this reductive reading. Professor Julie Nice, of the University of San Francisco School of Law, resists the easy renditions. Her article is refreshing because she engages the theories, the doctrines, and the politics with equal urgency and depth. It is also invigorating in its accessibility: Nice's language does not obfuscate or overwhelm. Moreover, while the article centers on a single case and was written for a symposium on CLS v. Martinez held by the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, it looks backwards and forwards as well as sideways to illuminate the notions of "equality" and "discrimination." Continue reading "Battle of Hastings"

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