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Supreme Court Hears Campus Military Recruitment Case

Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that pits law schools’ anti-discrimination policies against the military’s anti-gay policies and on-campus recruitment efforts. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR) v. Rumsfeld addresses the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment, passed in 1994, which requires universities to give the military the same access to on-campus recruiting as given to other employers, or risk losing public funding.

A coalition of law schools has argued that the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy conflicts with university non-discrimination policies; schools that require recruiters be non-discriminatory would have to make special accommodations for the military. The Christian Science Monitor quotes a brief on behalf of the schools, written by E. Joshua Rosenkranz, as saying “It is a demand that a law school accord the military ‘most-favored-recruiter’ status, even as the recruiters discriminate against the school’s own students.”

The Third US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the schools in November 2004. The case is being closely watched, as it is the first gay rights case before the Supreme Court since 2003. Furthermore, how the ruling is decided may affect many civil rights statutes, such as Title IX, that use the threat of withdrawing government funding to encourage non-discrimination.

Sources:

The Advocate 12/6/05; Associated Press 12/5/05; Christian Science Monitor 12/6/05