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Michael C. Dorf

Michael C. Dorf


Michael C. Dorf

Michael C. Dorf is a legal scholar specializing in issues of constitutional law. His work has frequently been cited by courts when rendering verdicts. One of the most prominent cases he was involved in recently was the 2010 Supreme Court case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.


The case involved a dispute between the Christian Legal Society and Hastings College of Law, a division of the University of California. Hastings College of Law has an official non-discrimination policy which forbids denying admission to any student on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The school took the position that any student organization which wished to receive official recognition from the school, which would include funding and support, was similarly prohibited from such discriminatory practices in admitting members.


Hastings accordingly denied official recognition to the Christian Legal Society, which denied admission to homosexuals. The case made its way to the Supreme Court, where the Christian Legal Society argued that its right to freedom of speech and free practice of religion was being violated. Michael C. Dorf was the primary author of an amicus curiae brief filed by the Association of American Law Schools on behalf of Hastings.


In this brief, Michael C. Dorf argued that Hastings was not violating the constitutional rights of the Christian Legal Society by enforcing an "all-comers" rule requiring that any student group seeking official recognition offer admission to any students who wished to join. The brief further argued that the school had the right to use this rule in deciding how to allocate funding. The Supreme Court agreed with the reasoning made by Michael C. Dorf and ruled 5 to 4 in favor of Hastings.