LOS ANGELES — A federal judge has ruled that the University of California did not discriminate against two Christian high schools in Southern California when it refused to honor some of their courses when considering students' eligibility for admission to UC campuses.
U.S. District Judge S. James Otero rejected arguments from Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta and Calvary Baptist School in La Verne that the university system refused the courses because they were taught from a religious perspective.
In a written opinion issued Aug. 8, the judge said the schools had failed to prove that religious intolerance, rather than academic merit, prompted UC not to count "Christianity and Morality in American Literature" and other courses toward admission.
"The decision to reject a course is constitutional as long as 1) UC did not reject the course because of animus and 2) UC had a rational basis for rejecting the course," Ortero wrote in Association of Christian Schools International v. Stearns.
The ruling was Ortero's second in the case. In March, he issued an order validating the university's process for approving college preparatory classes and narrowing the lawsuit to six specific courses that did not meet the system's criteria.
Robert Tyler, a lawyer representing the schools, said yesterday that he had already appealed the judge's most recent decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"This case is about the future of private religious education," Tyler said.