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Creationist lawsuit against UC system to proceed?


The recent lawsuit -- Association of Christian Schools International et al. v. Roman Stearns et al. -- that charges the University of California system with violating the constitutional rights of applicants from Christian schools whose high school coursework is deemed inadequate preparation for college -- is apparently going to proceed. In what the Associated Press described [Link broken] (June 28, 2006) as a "tentative ruling," Judge S. James Otero stated that he was not inclined to rule in favor of a motion by the university system to dismiss the suit.

The lawsuit was originally filed in federal district court in Los Angeles on August 25, 2005, on behalf of the Association of Christian Schools International, the Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, California, and six students at the school (none of whom have been refused admission to the University of California). Representing the plaintiffs are Robert H. Tyler, a lawyer with a new organization called Advocates for Faith and Freedom, and Wendell R. Bird of the Atlanta law firm Bird and Loechl, a former staff attorney for the Institute for Creation Research.

The plaintiffs object, inter alia, to the university system's policy of rejecting high school biology courses that use textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books as "inconsistent with the viewpoints and knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community." The policy, they allege, infringes on their rights to "freedom of speech, freedom from viewpoint discrimination, freedom of religion and association, freedom from arbitrary discretion, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from hostility toward religion."

During the hearing, Judge Otero reportedly expressed concern that Calvary was the only school to be a party to the lawsuit, observing that Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic schools "seem to have students move through the system with no problem." Afterwards, however, Tyler told the Riverside Press-Enterprise (July 27, 2006), "Based upon today's hearing, we're optimistic that the religious liberty concerns of this lawsuit will go forward to a full trial." A written ruling on the defendants' motion to dismiss the case is expected from Otero, although he did not indicate when he would issue it.