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Supreme Court denies Christian group’s lawsuit over campus recognition

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The Supreme Court on Monday announced that it would not hear an appeal brought by Christian student groups against San Diego State University because of its non-discrimination policy.

The announcement lets stand a ruling last August by the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Ninth Circuit, which held (PDF) that the university’s policy was constitutional, even though it prevented Alpha Delta Chi — a Christian sorority — and Alpha Gamma Omega — a Christian fraternity — from gaining official recognition on campus.

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The fraternity and sorority required members to adhere to certain Christian teachings, which conflicted with SDSU’s policy prohibiting discrimination based “on the basis of race, sex,
color, age, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, ancestry, or medical condition.”

Because the policy prevented the Christian groups from gaining recognition, they were prevented from having university funding, use of San Diego State’s name and logo, access to campus office space, and several other benefits.

Represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, the fraternity and sorority argued that the policy violated their First Amendment rights.

“The right of association applies to all groups on campus,” said Jeremy Tedesco, litigation staff counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. “All student groups have a right to elect officers and members who share that group’s values or belief system. These universities are requiring Christian organizations to accept members who disagree with their beliefs and viewpoints, violating these students’ First Amendment rights.”

However, the court held that the policy was not unconstitutional because it did not force the Christian fraternity and sorority to accept non-Christian members, only withheld benefits for not doing so.

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“San Diego State’s reasonable and viewpoint-neutral requirement that recognized student groups comply with its nondiscrimination policy does not violate Plaintiffs’ right to expressive association,” the court ruled. “Plaintiffs are free to express any message they wish, and may include or exclude members on whatever basis they like; they simply cannot oblige the university to subsidize them as they do so.”

[Jesus Christ image via Shutterstock]


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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

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The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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