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Military on campus OK says SCOTUS
Posted by: McQ on Monday, March 06, 2006

And it seems those who oppose it will have difficulty blaming the decision on the "conservative court". In an 8-0 decision, the court ruled that college campuses must allow military recruiters on campus if they accept federal funding:
The justices unanimously upheld a government policy of threatening to cut off federal funds, in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars, from universities that don't provide equal access. The ruling reversed a lower court decision said the policy violated university speech and associational rights.

``A military recruiter's mere presence on campus does not violate a law school's right to associate, regardless of how repugnant the law school considers the recruiter's message,'' Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the court.
Those who had opposed such an imposition used 1st Amendment arguments:
The dispute centered on the so-called Solomon Amendment, first enacted by Congress in 1994 to pressure universities into allowing military recruiters on campus. The Bush administration gave the law renewed emphasis after the 2001 terrorist attacks, insisting that military representatives get the same treatment as other recruiters. Congress later wrote that equal-access requirement into law.

A coalition of 36 law schools sued to challenge the equal- access policy, saying the schools have campus policies of not assisting employers who discriminate based on race, sex or sexual orientation. The law schools argued that, at a minimum, they shouldn't have to actively help military recruiters by distributing their literature or arranging interviews with students.
Roberts, writing for the court, wasn't impressed by the argument:
Roberts said the schools ``attempted to stretch a number of First Amendment doctrines well beyond the sort of activities these doctrines protect.''
The schools, of course, will capitulate. When it comes to a choice between sucking up taxpayers money or standing on principle, you can bet that the money will prevail.


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Previous Comments to this Post 

When it comes to a choice between sucking up taxpayers money or standing on principle, you can bet that the money will prevail.
Maybe not.
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Well Tom, I wouldn’t hold my breath... Only Bob Jones University takes NO money... But if you believe that Yale and Harvard will lose lots of cash for "principle’s sake" then by all means believe so. If they were willing to do that, they’d have simply not filed suit and taken the financial hit on the chin by now. Or have they placed the money to be withheld into an escrow account and will they now return it?
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The opinion offers a good primer on 1st admendment limits.

As of the Yale story (tom scott above), Yale should have been more upfront about it’s objection to the conditions of the $20 million bequest. Instead, it employed obfiscation and pure outright lies as to it’s intentions. Plainly, they should have refused it outright, but instead tried to have it both ways hoping Bass would give it anyway.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
You can get the opinion here.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I agree with you Joe but must correct you on one point. Hillsdale College also excepts no federal funding of any type.
Written By: mike
URL: http://
Thanks Mike, I thought it was only Bob Jones, oh well you live you learn.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Having watched the arguments on C-Span back in December (or rather, listened to them while looking at photos of the various speakers), I am not at all surprised by this ruling. I think the key point that the universities were not able to get around is the fact that the policies of the military cannot be reasonably misconstrued as policies of the university, so their own free speech against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell are never in jeopardy when they host a recruiter. The justices and even the Solicitor General made that point very clear in argument, and the decision quotes part of that exchange (page 10 or see my site).

They don’t have the ability to turn their backs on this money. Instead, the schools will make ridiculous efforts to demonize the recruiters while grudgingly making accomodations for them.

The ironic part is that one might think that the left of this nation would really be better served by seeing some leftish JAG officers recruited and serving to protect the rights of our gay servicemembers or wrongly held prisoners as Gitmo, instead of taking that high paying job with dad’s firm. Or am I silly?
Written By: Wulf
I think what Wulf said here is interesting.
The ironic part is that one might think that the left of this nation would really be better served by seeing some leftish JAG officers recruited and serving...
Why aren’t the liberals clamoring for intellectual diviersity in the JAG or military as vociferously as the conservatives clamor for intellectual diversity in the Academy?
Incidentally, I not certain that the JAG doesn’t have its share of leftish officers after reading some of their battlefield decisions in Afghanistan. McQ probably has a better perspective on that then I do.
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
In my (admittedly and thankfully limited) experience with JAG officers, they do seem to lean a bit more towards the left than the average Army officer. On the other hand, there is a fair bit more intellectual diversity among Army officers than I suspect a lot of people would realize.
Written By: Andrew
You know, I don’t really see much reason to close the cynicism tag. It’s too useful in nearly every discussion of politics and society.
Written By: Nathan

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