Friday, May 06, 2005

Law Schools Litigate Against Military Recruitment

From a law professor at Stanford University: But the Scouts, Your Honor - Law schools wield a ruling on gay scoutmasters against the military.:
"On Monday, the Supreme Court announced it would review the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment, which denies federal funding to universities that won't allow the military to recruit on campus. The law sounds like a throwback to 1968, something that would affect a handful of radical schools on the fringe of the academic mainstream. In fact, the 31 law schools that sued to overturn it include some of the most prestigious in the nation...

The Solomon Amendment makes that price extremely steep. If any department of a university excludes the military, the entire university loses all federal funding. (We could call this the "shock and awe" clause.) Harvard, Yale, and the University of Southern California, for example, each have said they stand to lose $300 million or more in research funds according to the terms of the statute unless their law schools open the door to JAG.

In the suit that the Supreme Court will hear next term, these schools and others argue that the Solomon Amendment interferes with their First Amendment rights of expression and free association, by requiring them to help an employer that discriminates.

But does it violate the First Amendment to require universities to accommodate the military in their career placement services? Here gay-rights advocates have an unlikely ally—a 2000 Supreme Court decision that said the Boy Scouts could keep out gay scoutmasters. In Boys Scouts of America v. Dale, the court held that a New Jersey law that required the scouts to admit members without regard to sexual orientation violated the group's First Amendment rights.

So, the Solomon Amendment, a law that protects discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, may be undone by Dale, an opinion that protects discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."

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