The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stop a school district in Washington state from blocking a group of Christian students from forming a Bible club on campus.
The court refused to hear an appeal from the high school students who wanted to form the Truth Bible Club at Kentridge High School in Seattle nearly a decade ago.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund had filed a petition with the court in March, asking the justices to review the case in hopes that they would "bring an end to this discrimination once and for all."
"Christian student groups shouldn't be penalized for their beliefs," said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum after the Christian legal group took their case to the high court. "Excluding a club simply because its members are religious is a clear violation of their First Amendment rights and the Equal Access Act. "
Since September of 2001, officials at Kentridge High School have refused to grant official recognition to the Truth Bible Club because they require their members to hold certain religious beliefs.
Though officials have cited the school's "nondiscrimination policy" as the reason for repeatedly rejecting the group's application, ADF notes that the school has recognized other non-curriculum-related clubs that also hold to particular beliefs.
"For close to a decade, school officials have stonewalled this group, which only wants to have the same benefits and privileges as any other student-led club," Kellum stated.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, had decided that the district did not violate the students' First Amendment rights by requiring them to allow all students full membership in their club.
Now, with the Supreme Court refusing to review the case, attorneys for the now-former students are mulling the idea of refiling the case, starting over in the U.S. District Court.
"We're willing to keep fighting if we need to," legal council Tim Chandler told The Seattle Times.