The U.S. Supreme Court’s Refusal to Grant Review to a Christian Group Means Absolutely Nothing

Let’s not be too quick to read too much into Monday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to deny certiorari (judicial review) in a 9th Circuit case (Alpha Delta Chi v. Reed) that applied a nondiscrimination rather than “all-comers” policy to deny recognition to a religious student group at a California public university. Because the Court denies cert in 95% of its cases, its denial of certiorari means nothing about the merits of the case. For all we know, the Court is waiting for stronger case to reach its docket. Unfortunately, the media has a tendency to misinterpret a denial of cert. as the Court “affirming” or “agreeing” with any decision that it refuses to review.

Speaking at Vanderbilt University last week on a forum titled, “Threats to Religious liberty: on Campus, and Across the Nation (YouTube link),” law professor, Michael Paulsen confidently predicted that in the next 5-7 years, the Supreme Court will be forced to step into the fray and reverse its wrong 5-4 decision in CLS v. Martinez.  In the meantime, we need to roll up our sleeves and get ready for a long protracted battle to preserve our civil rights and civil liberties against institutions that seem determined to remake our society into their utopian dream.

4 Responses to The U.S. Supreme Court’s Refusal to Grant Review to a Christian Group Means Absolutely Nothing

  1. Jim Vandelly says:

    Professor Swain,
    I do not often criticize you, but your assumption that religious liberty is under attack is completely unfounded. What is really in danger in the U.S. is the attack on our secular, constitutional system of government.
    My position on the San Diego State case is that the administration’s case is overwhelmingly, constitutionally valid. What the plaintiffs wanted was paramount to “establishment of religion,” and as a law professor, I am shocked that your would support such a movement.
    You know from may many emails to you that I respect you–especially your fight for racial equality. But the assertion that somehow Christians in the country are under attack is a specious argument with no basis in law or fact. No public university has an obligation, legally, to lend government-supported facilities to a religious group.
    It is no surprise to me that a writ of certiorari was denied. You skirted over that in your post very quickly. This entire issue of religion in universities is an establishment attempt, and I am surprised the you, as a law professor would engage in this. You have an obligation to teach the constitutional law supporting the secular nature of our legal system. It is precisely this secularism that protects all religions in the U.S. from the threat of establishmentarianism. It is a reactionary movement designed to elevate Christianity in the U.S., maybe in fear that the changing demographics in the country reduces the influence of Christians in politics.

    James E. Vandelly
    retired Political Science teacher
    Centreville, Virginia

    • carolswain says:

      Jim, thank you for your thoughtful analysis. Of course, it doesn’t change my position about the insignificance of the Supreme Court’s denial of cert. or the need to fight for religious freedom in America.

      • Steve Wiser says:

        Professor Swain; Your restrained response was very gracious and probably undeserved. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

  2. Mike says:

    Professor Swain,

    I just saw you on Anderson Cooper 360 and I just want to applaud you for telling the truth about the whole Trayvone case controversy. I just want to stand up and clap my hands when I heard you speak. I actually don’t think were you given an opportunity to finish your thoughts compared to that idiot from Syracuse.

    Please go on more shows and speak your mind. I and many others would love to see a smart black woman speaking the truth. We want to see positive role models, not race-baiters who wish to divide the country like Sharpton, Jackson and Obama.

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