October 23, 2012

Cases of Interest to the School Community 1999–2000 Term

First Amendment

Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, No. 99-699

Do the Boy Scouts have a First Amendment right to exclude gays?

Decision: Yes. The Court ruled 5-4 that applying New Jersey’s public accommodations law to require the Boy Scouts to admit James Dale would violate the Scouts’ right of expressive association.

From the majority opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist (joined by Justices O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas):

As the presence of GLIB in the Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade [in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, Inc.] would have interfered with the parade organizers’ choice not to propound a particular point of view, the presence of Dale as an assistant scoutmaster would just as surely interfere with the Boy Scouts’ choice not to propound a point of view contrary to its beliefs.

Dissenting: Justice Stevens (joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Souter)
Dissenting: Justice Souter (joined by Justices Ginsburg and Breyer)

Opinion and briefs: supreme.findlaw.com/Supreme_Court/docket/aprdocket.html#99-699

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