View Full Version : Law Schools Seek to Regain Ability to Bar Military Recruiters

09-21-03, 04:50 AM

An organization of law schools and a group representing hundreds of legal scholars sued the Department of Defense and five other federal agencies yesterday, seeking to help universities and colleges that want to keep military recruiters off their campuses because of the department's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay men and lesbians.

The suit challenges the constitutionality of a federal law that punishes universities with loss of some federal money if they use their antidiscrimination policies to exclude military recruiters.

It follows a successful campaign by the Defense Department to force some of the nation's most prestigious law schools to allow military recruiters on campus. In recent years, the department has advised Harvard, Yale, Columbia and 20 other universities that they could lose federal aid if they did not allow recruiters at their law schools. For some universities, the dispute put at risk hundreds of millions of dollars for research on everything from weapons systems to the humanities.

By this past summer, "every law school whose institution receives federal funds caved to the military's demands," according to the complaint filed yesterday in Newark before Judge John C. Lifland.

The suit says that every accredited American law school has adopted policies that bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and that the schools have sought to apply these policies without making any exception for what the suit describes as "the military and its discriminatory policy regarding sexual orientation."

Some law schools barred military recruiters from entering their campuses. Others allowed them entry while arranging visits under conditions that set them apart from recruiters representing law firms and corporations whose practices the law schools do not consider discriminatory.

In 1995, Congress passed the Solomon amendment, named for its sponsor, Representative Gerald B. H. Solomon of New York, barring disbursement of money from the Departments of Defense, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Education and some other federal agencies to any college or university that obstructed campus recruiting by the military.

The suit filed yesterday argues that the Solomon amendment violates law schools' First Amendment rights to academic freedom.

"The plaintiffs are seeking to prohibit enforcement of the Solomon amendment," said Michael Chagares, chief of the civil division of the United States attorney's office in Newark. "We will contend that the Solomon amendment is constitutional and will seek to prohibit any limitation on its enforcement."

The plaintiffs asked Judge Lifland to order the government immediately to stop threatening restrictions on federal money to law schools as a result of the recruiting dispute, pending the lawsuit's outcome. He denied the request.

The organization of law schools that filed the suit, the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, includes "at least five" prominent law schools that have been threatened with legal action by the Department of Defense, said Kent Greenfield, a Boston College Law School professor who helped found the group. But Mr. Greenfield said none of the law schools were willing to be named publicly because they feared retribution from the Defense Department or its allies in Congress.

Another plaintiff is the Society of American Law Teachers, which has a membership of 900 law professors.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/20/education/20LAW.html?ex=1064635200&en=e6471e7b0bd87565&ei=50 62&partner=GOOGLE

09-21-03, 07:07 AM
I keep thinking of that quote from Henry III - The first thing we do, let us kill all the lawyers.

Lot of folks forgetting the reason they can file idiotic suits is that, according to George Orwell, rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

09-21-03, 11:22 AM
I don't understand their argument.

Money is being offered to them, but there are strings attached. They want the money, but not the strings.

I want the benefits of winning the lottery, but I don't like the requirement of picking the winning numbers.

Now, if I could only get them to plead MY case while they are pleading theirs ...............

09-22-03, 10:57 PM
Too bad the Solomon amendment didn't come along till '95, I could have used that when I was on recruiting and bared from schools. Had to get spies in the school and match the year book to the phone book... what fun.