Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education
Description: A lawsuit filed by a recently formed LGBT activist group on behalf of some current and former students intends to prevent any students from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to religious beliefs on sexuality.
Court victory: Religious colleges can operate according to beliefs, receive federal financial aid
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel and Vice President of U.S. Litigation David Cortman regarding a federal court’s decision Thursday to dismiss Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education and continue to allow students to direct federal tuition assistance to educational institutions that share their religious beliefs. The lawsuit was filed by an activist group and was intended to prevent any students from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to religious beliefs on gender or sexual morality:
“A federal district court today rightly rejected an unfounded assault on the religious freedom of faith-based educational institutions. Title IX, which applies to schools receiving federal financial assistance, explicitly protects the freedom of religious schools to live out their deeply and sincerely held convictions. A group of activists asked the court to strip that protection away from schools that educate the next generation and advance the common good. The court correctly concluded that Title IX’s religious liberty exemption doesn’t violate any of the plaintiffs’ claimed rights.”
In October 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon allowed three Christian post-secondary schools represented by ADF attorneys—Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary—to intervene in the lawsuit and defend the relevant provisions of Title IX, the federal law under attack. Among other things, Title IX allows students to use federal financial aid at private religious schools that operate according to their beliefs.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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David A. Cortman serves as senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom. He has been practicing law since 1996, and currently supervises a team of over 40 attorneys and legal staff who specialize in constitutional law, focusing on religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family. Cortman has litigated hundreds of constitutional law cases including two victories at the U.S. Supreme Court. In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, he secured a 7-2 victory that overturned Missouri’s denial of a religious school’s participation in a state funding program. Cortman also argued Reed v. Town of Gilbert, securing a 9-0 ruling that prohibits the government from discriminating against religious speech. A member of the bar in Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and the District of Columbia, he is also admitted to practice in over two dozen federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Cortman obtained his J.D. magna cum laude from Regent University School of Law.