Litigation Docket


The sole case briefed in the Litigation Docket for this edition is provided courtesy of the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), which generously permitted the Section to make use of its August 1996 Docket Report. The Center can be reached at (202) 833-8400; e-mail is Members and friends are encouraged to submit information about ongoing litigation of interest to this Practice Group to the Vice Chairman for Publications.

Columbia Union College v. Maryland State Board of Education

Columbia Union College is a Seventh-Day Adventist-affiliated school that sued the Maryland board of education based on its determination that, as a "pervasively sectarian institution," Columbia Union did not qualify for a grant program meant to defray tuition costs. While some religiously-affiliated institutions qualify, others following the Supreme Court's rule of Roemer v. Board of Public Works of Maryland are so "sectarian" that their secular (i.e., fundable) activities cannot be separated from their sectarian ones.Two issues arise: Factually, there is an open question as to whether at least some of the college's activities, such as its Adult Evening Program, are bound up in the school's religious function. Legally, there is the Supreme Court's 1995 decision in Rosenberger v. Rector. In that case, the editors of a religious newspaper at the University of Virginia got a decision (with the help of the CIR) that the University could not exclude the paper from a broad-based subsidy system merely because of its religious content. CIR believes that Rosenberger is on point, and advised the College to resubmit its application with a reference to the case. Maryland again denied the application, and Columbia Union sued. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Frank Kaufman.


2002 The Federalist Society