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9th Circuit to Scottsdale Unified: Thou shalt not discriminate against Christians
Alliance Defense Fund ^ | 05/22/03 | Richard K. Jefferson

Posted on 06/03/2003 10:01:41 AM PDT by bedolido

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled today that the Scottsdale public school district discriminated against a local Christian when it banned the distribution of flyers for his summer camp while allowing other non-profits to distribute their materials.

Joseph J. Hills ran the camp, which would have had 17 classes in wood-working, dance, and other subjects, as well as two religious classes: Bible Heroes and Bible Tales. The school district refused to allow distribution of the flyers because of the so-called “separation of church and state.”

The case, Hills v. Scottsdale Unified School District, was supported and funded by the Alliance Defense Fund, a national legal organization based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The case was jointly litigated by the American Center for Law and Justice, a public interest law firm specializing in constitutional law and the Center for Arizona Policy, an Arizona pro-family organization. The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the case to the district court, which earlier held against Hills.

Distributing flyers at public schools was the chief promotional forum for many non-profit organizations. Hills never held the camp because he couldn’t find enough participants.

“The Ninth Circuit got it right when they said this is unconstitutional discrimination against the Christian viewpoint and free speech,” said Gary McCaleb, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund. “Equal treatment of Christians and equal access for Christians in our public schools is long overdue.”

The Scottsdale Unified School District had allowed non-profit groups to distribute flyers to the community through its public schools, but it refused to let Hills distribute the flyers for his camp. At arguments in federal district court, the school district went so far as to say “that it might have excluded the brochure even if it simply said ‘Bible Study,’ if the class was not being taught as a ‘historical, academic subject.”

The Ninth Circuit held that the school violated Hills’ free speech rights and had discriminated against the camp’s Christian viewpoint. The appellate court said that excluding “Hills’ summer camp brochure because it offered Bible classes from a Christian perspective … constitutes an impermissible viewpoint discrimination.”

The Ninth Circuit cited the 2001 United States Supreme Court decision in Good News Club v. Milford The Ninth Circuit said Good News Club “teaches that speech discussing otherwise permissible subjects cannot be excluded from a limited public forum simply because the subject is discussed from a religious viewpoint.” The Alliance Defense Fund also supported the Good News Club case.

The Alliance Defense Fund serves people of faith; it provides strategy, training, and funding in the legal battle for religious liberty, sanctity of life, and traditional family values.

TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: 9th; 9thcircuit; christians; circuit; scottsdale

1 posted on 06/03/2003 10:01:42 AM PDT by bedolido
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To: bedolido
Dang, the 9th Circuit got one right. I THOUGHT that was a pig I saw flying by my window.
2 posted on 06/03/2003 10:08:42 AM PDT by dirtboy (someone kidnapped dirtboy and replaced him with an exact replica)
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To: bedolido
It would be nice if the schools could figure one out too.
3 posted on 06/03/2003 10:17:14 AM PDT by aardvark1
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To: bedolido
the 9th must fear for its abolishment...
4 posted on 06/03/2003 10:47:07 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: dirtboy
It is too bad that this ruling was made by the 9th Circuit. I think the ruling is too good to be overturned :^)
5 posted on 06/03/2003 11:43:00 AM PDT by Bob Buchholz
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To: bedolido
That was the 9th Circuit, right?
6 posted on 06/03/2003 12:26:23 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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I can understand why this lawsuit is viewed as a good thing by religious organizations wishing to have their flyers distributed in public schools.

The unfortunate 'unforseen consequence' of the outcome, however, has been that now the SUSD is totally discriminating against ALL outside agencies and entities who wish to have their flyers distributed. As a result of the court decisions (with the upcoming Az Supreme Court decision not yet reached) the (as usual, short-sighted) Governing Board of the Scottsdale Unified School District is to DISALLOW ALL non-SUSD flyers in our schools.

Currently, the city's Parks & Rec dept. is having to consider canceling the upcoming city-provided sports programs - because too few participants have signed up. This NEVER occurred in the past and is, according to city P&R Dept. personnel, totally due to the SUSD prohibiting them from having the sports team info and signup flyers distributed.

The Governing Board of SUSD has a long-held reputation for making over-reaching and overly broad 'knee jerk reactions' each time something hits the press and each time there is a court decision that effects public education.

The result is being felt personally, and I am extremely angry about it. We are of below-modest means, financially, and the city has graciously granted my 8th grade child a full scholarship to participate in the P&R sports teams and classes. These typically cost a resident $42 or more for roughly 6-8 wks. of participation each time. Since the main objective of the local high school is to accept only the most highly skilled sports players on ITS teams, this means that RIGHT NOW is my child's last opportunity to play team sports before falling under that 'high bar' imposed at high school.

Because the 7th/8th grade boys basketball team through the P&R program has too few kids enrolled right now, it looks like they will simply have to cancel the opportunity for ALL.

In all honesty I have to say that, as a result of the Hills v. SUSD No. 48, et. al., US Ct. App. CV-00-01087-SRB, 329 F.3rd. 1044, 9th Cir.Ct.App. 05/22/2003) (appeal from Az District Court No. 01-17518), case, I am certainly *not* feeling very charitable toward Hill's summer bible camp, the American Center for Law & Justice (representing Hill), or anything advocating Christian activities for school children.

It should be worth considering that for the number of Christian children attending public schools that some see as benefiting from the rulings, there are hundreds more children who are being done a grave disservice. My son is just one of those hundreds who are now on the receiving end of "discrimination".
7 posted on 01/11/2004 2:48:01 AM PST by SUSDtaxpayer
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