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Michigan university revoking Christian group's benefits was unconstitutional, judge rules

Discussion in 'News & Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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  2. RighteousnessTemperance&

    RighteousnessTemperance& Well-Known Member

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    From the article:

    In a statement to Fox News, the university said the ruling was "not unexpected."

    "Unfortunately, despite the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship being granted everything it requested in a timely manner, it continued to pursue litigation, forcing the university to spend time and taxpayer dollars in an unnecessary lawsuit," the university said. "Now, two years later, the judge has awarded $1 in nominal damages, as well as the opportunity for InterVarsity to continue the lawsuit in pursuit of compensatory damages, despite having been restored to their previous status in March of 2018. We recently received the court’s 83-page opinion and are reviewing it."​

    The university is lying through its teeth there regarding their actions toward InterVarsity as well as the need for the lawsuit. And now they are liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensatory damages, precisely because they illegally, that is, unconstitutionally, revoked RSO status.
     
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  3. RighteousnessTemperance&

    RighteousnessTemperance& Well-Known Member

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    The judge's decision is worth reading. Here are some excerpts highlighting the egregious nature of the university's actions:

    In this case, there is extensive evidence that Defendants’ decision to revoke Plaintiffs’ RSO status was arbitrary and symbolized an inconsistent application of the school’s policy. See id. Defendants denied Plaintiffs the ability to become an RSO, [p 39]

    Simply because Defendants actually applied the non-discrimination policy at times to some non-religious RSOs does not demonstrate that Defendants’ policy was reasonable or neutral. (ECF No. 55, PageID.2512-14.) Defendants still indisputably allowed for numerous exceptions and non-enforcement for many RSOs while applying the policy against Plaintiffs in violation of the First Amendment. The sporadic application of the policy serves to emphasize its arbitrary and inconsistent nature. [p 42]

    Yet it was Plaintiffs, this small group of Christians, who were denied RSO benefits because they require their Christian leaders to be . . . Christian. Defendants fail to provide reasonable and objective justifications for its application of the non-discrimination policy against Plaintiffs. [p 49]​
     
  4. RighteousnessTemperance&

    RighteousnessTemperance& Well-Known Member

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    This highlights the need for the lawsuit that the university deceptively said was unnecessary (bold emphasis added). The judge basically threw the book at them, and well he should have.

    Defendants have renewed Plaintiffs’ RSO status for the pendency of this litigation but maintain that Plaintiffs’ leadership criteria is in violation of the non-discrimination policy. (ECF No. 59, PageID.2774-75.) Defendants have not agreed to allow Plaintiffs to limit leadership on religious grounds after this litigation has concluded. Thus, injunctive relief is appropriate. No “competing constitutional rights” are implicated in this case, Cnty. Sec. Agency, 296 F.3d at 485, and all factors weigh in favor of an injunction. eBay Inc., 547 U.S. at 390. The court will set this case for trial on the issue of compensatory damages. [ p 82; conclusion immediately follows]

    IV. CONCLUSION

    The uncontested facts demonstrate that Defendants violated Plaintiffs’ rights to internal management, free speech, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and free exercise as a matter of law. Defendants also violated the Establishment Clause as a matter of law. Defendant Villarosa and Strauss are entitled to qualified immunity on only Plaintiffs’ freedom of assembly claim. Qualified immunity is otherwise denied. Moreover, the remainder of Plaintiffs’ claims survive Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Accordingly… [p 82]​
     
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