One of the most fascinating things about the lawsuit against the UC is that they appear to have pulled the legal arguments out of thin air. For instance, the ACSI states in their newsletter:
ACSI seeks to preserve the right of Christian school graduates to attend the college or university of their choice.
I can’t imagine what makes them think that anyone, Christian or otherwise, has a right to attend the college or university of their choice. When I was turned down as a transfer student to the University of Chicago, I wasn’t happy about it, but I certainly didn’t think my rights had been violated. Students are turned down by the university of their choice all the time. That is at worst a minor inconvenience; it has nothing to do with rights.
The complaint filed by the ACSI contains a list of alleged constitutional issues, most of them either non-existent or not violated by the UC policy. Here is the first paragraph of the complaint, laying out the legal bases for the suit:
Plaintiffs state this complaint against defendants, for viewpoint discrimination and content discrimination by defendants toward Christian school instruction and texts, which violates the constitutional rights of Christian schools and students to freedom of speech, freedom from viewpoint discrimination, freedom of religion and association, freedom from arbitrary governmental discretion, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from hostility toward religion.
How many red herrings does this paragraph contain? Let us count them.
A. The notion of “content discrimination” is absurd in this context. Any and all university standards for giving credit are “content discrimination” – they all discriminate based upon the content of the course they are evaluating. That is not illegal. The only way to make a case against this is to make a case against any and all attempts by a university to evaluate which courses to accept for credit. By that standard, a school could have a class that consists of nothing but the reading of Harlequin romances, call it biology, and if the university refuses to accept that as a credit in biology they are engaged in “content discrimination”. Obviously absurd.
B. The claim of a free speech violation is even more absurd. The UC policy does not prevent anyone from speaking on any subject whatsoever. They are free to say or write whatever they want. The freedom to do so does not mean that others have to accept anything you say or write as evidence of pedagogical value.
C. The same is true of “freedom of religion and association”. No one is being prevented from practicing their religion, or from associating with anyone they wish. The right to freedom of religion does not mean that others have to accept your religion as being adequate as a science course.
The only relevant legal question in this case will be whether the action taken here is arbitrary or reasonable. If the court determines that the criteria as applied here are reasonable and aimed at the entirely legitimate university function of evaluating the preparation of potential students, the university wins. All of these claims of imagined rights being violated will not matter a bit.