VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (September 14, 2023) – On September 13, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion that handed a significant victory to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The Robertson Center filed two briefs supporting FCA’s arguments and celebrates this victory with them.
The San José Unified School District stripped the Fellowship of Christian Athletes of its status as a fully recognized student organization at three high schools in the district. It did so because FCA requires its student leaders to affirm a Statement of Faith. The Robertson Center filed a friend of the court brief in the Ninth Circuit supporting FCA.
In August 2022, the Ninth Circuit panel ruled in favor of FCA. But the School District asked the Ninth Circuit to reconsider its decision, and the en banc court agreed to rehear the case. In early 2023, the Robertson Center filed another friend of the court brief with the en banc Ninth Circuit making First Amendment and Equal Access Act arguments.
This ruling sets an important precedent in a circuit court that was historically one of the most hostile to religious liberty. It will ensure religious organizations like FCA will be treated the same as other groups in public schools.
The Robertson Center for Constitutional Law is an academic center within the Regent University School of Law. Established in 2020, the Center pairs advocacy and scholarship to advance first principles in constitutional law, including originalism, separation of powers, and religious liberty. The Robertson Center has represented former members of Congress, Christian ministries, and others in briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts. Learn more about the work of the Robertson Center at https://constitutionallaw.regent.edu/our-work/.