VA Senate Approves “No-Comers” Student Organization Bill

February 6th, 2013

In CLS v. Martinez, the majority of the Court viewed the University of California at Hasting’s “all-comers” policy as consistent with the First Amendment. Under this policy, student organizations were allowed to function so long as they allowed anyone to participate in their group.

Virginia is taking the opposite approach. The Virginia Senate approved a bill that would “allow religious and political student organizations at public universities to turn away would-be members who do not share the group’s mission.”

Approved 22 to 18, the legislation would prevent public universities from using campus anti-discrimination policies against any club that “limits its core functions to persons committed to its mission.”

This is the diametric opposite position of the University of California.

While the “all-comers” policy in CLS allowed the Court to uphold the program, this bill seems to tee-up the constitutional issue–both Free Association and Free Exercise, head on.

Instead of an “all-comers” policy, let’s call it a “no-comers” policy.

Virginia is the new Arizona!