On Friday, a Houston civil rights lawyer sent a complaint letter to the American Bar Association asking the group to examine the accreditation of Pat Robertson's Regent University School of Law after the school allegedly violated his client's free speech rights.
On behalf of his client Adam Key, Houston solo Randall Kallinen sent the complaint letter to the ABA alleging that last year the school suspended Key after he posted an unflattering picture of Robertson on his Facebook page online and criticized, on an online university forum, Robertson's public comments that advocated the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Key was a second-year student at Regent Law.
While the Virginia Beach, Va., Christian law school is private, it maintains ABA accreditation. To maintain accreditation, it must not be in violation of ABA Standard 211(c), which prevents it from discriminating against its students on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability. That standard "is administered as though the First Amendment of the United States Constitution governs its application."
"As a Christian and as a Lutheran, Mr. Key has religious convictions that religious leaders be held to high standards and that it is permissible to criticize any wrongful behavior," the complaint letter states. "When Mr. Key refused to conform to Regent's religious and political views, he was suspended and ultimately removed from law school."
"What they're doing is they are creating a bunch of lawyers who don't believe in free speech," says Kallinen, who wants the ABA to revoke the law school's accreditation.
Telephone messages were not immediately returned by officials at the law school or the ABA.
In November 2007, Key filed a civil rights complaint, Key v. Regent University, against the law school in U.S. District Court in Houston, claiming the school violated his right to free speech and freedom of religion.