U.S. appeals court issues split decision in battle between church college, state

October 29, 1998|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., issued a split decision Tuesday in the battle between the state of Maryland and a Takoma Park college affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Columbia Union College's lawsuit against the state -- which refuses to give the school funding granted to other private colleges because of its religious orientation -- was dismissed at the District Court level a year ago.

The appellate court found that the state does have the right to deny the funding to institutions whose religious affiliation is too closely intertwined with its educational mission.

But the court vacated the District Court decision, ruling that another hearing must be held to better determine the facts of the situation at Columbia Union.

Either side could appeal the decision, asking for a hearing before the full 4th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pub Date: 10/29/98

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