Several prominent national associations of  universities yesterday told the U.S. Supreme Court (amazingly) that they agree with the University of Wisconsin that public universities should be free to single out student religious expression, and exclude it from university forums opened for all student speech. The associations of universities filed a friend of the court brief in the Badger Catholic case, which the University of Wisconsin has appealed to the Supreme Court.

      We have reported on the Badger Catholic case here and here.  Here is a nutshell summary of the case:  although the University of Wisconsin told the Supreme Court about ten years ago in the Southworth case that it would distribute student fee funds to all student organizations without discrimination based on what the student group believes and advocates, the University in recent years has reneged on that promise and claimed that the Establishment Clause required it to eliminate funding for student expression the University determines to be worship, prayer or “proselytizing,” (a nasty synonym for persuading others to agree with your point of view and join your cause).  The University of Wisconsin selectively denied funding to Badger Catholic, the large Roman Catholic student organization on campus because some of the students’ expressive activities contained too much of what the University defined as “prayer, proselytizing and worship.”

    ADF filed a lawsuit against this unconstitutional action.  Last September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a great opinion ruled that the University’s actions violated the First Amendment.  The University has now appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.  read more

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