Constitutional fellow at the Independence Institute and former UM law professor Rob Natelson has been following a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that could have implications for the University of Montana regarding discrimination.

“There is a consolidated case coming before the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of whether universities can continue to discriminate based on race and ethnicity for the alleged purpose of obtaining a diverse faculty or diverse student body,” began Natelson.

Natelson said the Supreme Court case involves the 14th amendment to the U.S. constitution.

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“One of the two cases consolidated involves a state university, the University of North Carolina, and whether it can continue to discriminate based on race and ethnicity under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that has obvious implications for another state university, the University of Montana, which also pursues a diversity agenda,” he said.

Natelson referenced an article that he authored for the online news site The Epoch Times regarding discrimination.

“I wrote a column for The Epoch Times in which I suggested that the Supreme Court needs to apply the same standards to university racial discrimination that it applies to other state discrimination,” he said. “That means that you don't defer to the expertise of the state agency. If a state wants to discriminate based upon race or ethnicity or certain other grounds, it must demonstrate first that its stated reason is the true reason. Secondly, that the reason rises to a compelling governmental purpose and thirdly that there's no other way to achieve that purpose.”

Natelson tied the story to a recent University of Montana Law School ZOOM presentation on climate change that featured both former Senator Max Baucus and former Vice President Al Gore on the topic of climate change.

“The program was on climate change, and apparently the only two paid participants in the program were former Vice President Al Gore and Max Baucus, both of whom are climate alarmists,” he said. “Now there's nothing wrong with the university having a program with climate alarmists who believe that the seas are going to rise and drown us all. But they need to balance that program and they didn't do that. That occurs repeatedly in state universities, not just the University of Montana.”

Natelson contends that universities should make every effort to present balanced views presenting both sides of an issue as controversial as climate change, something he said UM did not do in this case.

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