SUPREME COURT SOLOMON DECISION: OUTLAWS STATEMENT
The Supreme Court released its decision yesterday in FAIR v. Rumsfeld, the Solomon Amendment Case. All 8 sitting justices rejected FAIR's 1st amendment claim and held that the Solomon Amendment does not violate free speech protections by compelling law schools to host a discriminatory employer. They also rejected the interpretation submitted by CLS's faculty holding that an even-handed application of the school's anti-discrimination policy to all potential employers was not enough to comply with the text of the Solomon Amendment. The law school must provide military recruiters preferential access and exempt them from the requirements of the anti-discrimination policy, ensuring that they are on a level with the "nonmilitary recruiter receiving the most preferential access."
In light of today's decision, Outlaws would like to take a moment to thank President Bollinger and the 52 professors whose time, effort, and support went into the brief. We'd also like to thank Career and Student Services for their support and efforts in making ameliorative measures. In light of the continuing discrimination facing LGBT students at CLS and law schools across the country, we would like to express thoughts on the decision and for the future:
§ Outlaws is disappointed with the way the Court handled this decision. The Court chose to focus on law schools' efforts in recruiting instead of the schools' anti-discrimination policies, in effect avoiding the larger free speech issues and rendering schools' non-discrimination policies meaningless technicalities.
§ In light of the continuing discrimination LGBT students will face on the law school and university campus, we ask all University administrators to continue to take action on this issue. Unless Columbia wishes to see its non-discrimination policy rendered meaningless, the University and the Law School should continue to support an exercise of free speech rights in denouncing the military's discriminatory policy. The Court has said that nothing in the Solomon Amendment prohibits schools from engaging "in speech" or "organizing student protests." We urge the Administration to respond to the military's violation of its non-discrimination policy by organizing and funding school-wide protests of military recruitment efforts.
§ No matter the Court's decision regarding the Solomon Amendment, nothing changes the harm and expense caused by the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. With our nation in conflict, it is nonsensical and potentially harmful to exclude qualified service members who would proudly and diligently serve their country. If the military is truly interested in recruiting "the best and the brightest," it should change its policy. A bill introduced in March 2005 (H.R. 1059) by Rep. Meehan (D-MA) would repeal DADT and replace it with a discrimination policy which includes sexual orientation. The bill currently has 109 co-sponsors. We encourage everyone in the CLS community to write his or her representative and petition them to support this bill.
§ For more information on military recruiting, law school responses to the decision and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in general, please go to www.solomonresponse.org.
Questions or comments? Contact Outlaws 1L Representative Michelle Rutherford.