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Case on Christian Law Student Group Gets Supreme Court Star Power

Publication Date: 
January 15, 2010
The National Law Journal
Marcia Coyle

Professor Michael McConnell is mentioned in this article as the lead counsel for the Christian Legal Society in a Supreme Court case dealing with challenges to the First Amendment:

In the Supreme Court battle between the Christian Legal Society and the University of California Hastings College of Law -- a potentially major First Amendment challenge on this term's docket -- both sides have added star legal talent to handle the likely April arguments.

Christian Legal Society has brought on board, as lead counsel, former federal appellate judge Michael McConnell, who is now director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School. Hastings has added former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, chair of Latham & Watkins' Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group. And the Hastings gay and lesbian student organization, Hastings Outlaw, has brought in Paul Smith, chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice at Jenner & Block.

The high court case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, asks the justices whether a public university law school with a non-discrimination policy can refuse to fund a religious student group because the group requires its officers and voting members to agree with its core religious beliefs, thereby excluding gay and lesbian students.


Before joining Stanford last year, McConnell was a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He is a nationally-known religion clause scholar and has argued 11 cases in the Supreme Court.

McConnell said he is working pro bono for CLS and the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic is not involved in the case.