Law Schools vs. The Military (it was never a fair fight)

The Supreme Court recently heard and ruled on Rumsfeld vs Forum. This is the case that tested the impact of the Solomon amendment. This amendment said that all universities had to give the military equal access to recruiting as any other recruitment, in order to recieve federal funding. That is, at any job fair or such, they would be allowed whatever others were.

Many Law Schools were against this. Their reasoning was that they are bastions of free speech and anti-discrimination. The military’s policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” violates soliders rights of free speech and expression. These schools had passed policies saying that any recruiter that didn’t meet their standards in regards to rights granted would not be allowed on campus, or some similar “downgrading”. This applied to any organization, including the military.

The two sides have been battling in court for a long time until it finally made it all the way to the top last week. Whereupon the law schools were spanked, and spanked hard, in an 8-0 decision that left no doubt. Our new Chief Justice had the best line, when during oral arguments he told the law schools, “What you’re saying is, ‘This is a message we believe in strongly, but we don’t believe in it, to the tune of $100 million.’ “.

Bravo. The Law Schools stance has always been incredibly hypocritical. If they felt that strongly about the don’t ask don’t tell policy, they could simply stop taking federal monies.

In addtion, it was simply wrong. The military is different than other organizations. It’s mission is not to maximize profit, it’s mission is to kill others so that we are kept safe. The military organization is not at all like any other, in many ways. Despite all the military metaphors littering modern corporate vocabulary, they are worlds apart, and thank goodness for that.

The New Republic had a very nice article about this (subscription only). For some strange reason, it’s littered with advice to Hilary on the topic, but it’s take is generally on.  The military has increasingly become associated with the heartland, and with the GOP.  In Vietnam, many of the soliders were from fine universites, and military service was still considered a noble calling.  The irony of the chickenhawks (Bush, Cheney, etc.) in power questioning the service of the Democrats who served (Gore, Kerry, etc.) is absurd, but it points out how the pendulum has swung.  By excluding the military from the elite and Ivy League schools, the military has been pushed to recruit where it can.  This has led to the solidifying of the military as a reliable GOP block.

Way to go, Supreme Court.  I hope the next few decisions are this easy.

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