Archive for March 19th, 2012

March 19, 2012

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys!


by Eric W. Dolan

Monday, March 19, 2012 21:00EDT

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.

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.

“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]

Eric W. Dolan Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of San Diego, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.

March 19, 2012

If You Like Afghanistan, You’re Going to Love Iran


1. Senator Mark Kirk, R-Illinois

Currently recovering in Chicago from a stroke, this senator has made an indelible impact on the Obama administration’s Iran policy. Elected to office partly on the strength of campaign donations from advocates for Israel, Kirk is the co-author of the most consequential sanctions bill yet on Iran, the Kirk-Menendez bill.

2. Senator Carl Levin, D-Michigan

This Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has made headlines in recent weeks with his tough talk on Iran. Levin minced no words in his speech to AIPAC last month, telling conference attendees that if “the sword need[s] to be drawn to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, Israel will wield a powerful shield against Iranian retaliation – a shield strengthened and participated in by the United States of America.” That same day, after meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin NetanyahuLevin said that if Iran doesn’t stop enriching uranium, “an attack on them by Israel is very likely.”

3. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina

A favorite of the neoconservative wing of the GOP, Graham sees military might as the solution to Syria and Iran. In 2010, Graham told the Halifax International Security Forum that he sees the US waging war on Iran to “neutralize their nuclear program” and “sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime.”

4. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida

The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ros-Lehtinen is a leading hawk on Iran. She frequently rails against Iran’s ties to Latin America, and has vowed that the US will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Israel if it takes military action against Iran. She is a vociferous opponent of diplomacy with Iran, and has stated that the Obama administration “must not fall into the regime’s trap and again pursue the failed policy of dialogue and engagement.”

5. Representative Brad Sherman

This Democrat from California is a strong backer of Israel and an ardent foe of Iran, and it shows in his statements and the legislation he pushes. Sherman is sure that Iran’s nuclear program has “no other purpose but” for a nuclear weapon. And he’s proud that he has been “pressing for sanctions since 1998.”

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March 19, 2012

Interesting read, not only for lawyers but for anyone who might be contemplating going to law school.

This Ruthless World

Last week, I learned that my law school is one of about a dozen sued in a class action for fraud in representing their graduates’ employment prospects. More law schools are expected to be named as defendants in the near future.

I am not sure how I feel about the lawsuit. If anyone is to blame for the totally erroneous perception of how well lawyers make out, it’s Hollywood (and, to a larger extent, popular culture itself). Don’t get me wrong, there are some very good reasons to go into law; it’s just that getting rich isn’t one of them. Even so-called “superlawyers” earn far less than specialists of comparable caliber in other traditionally lucrative fields (such as finance). White-shoe law firms, for their part, pay relatively well, but they are a cut-throat environment, and they treat associates like serfs. The overwhelming majority of lawyers, however, have modest incomes —…

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