handful of independent law schools can afford to take a
stand. But for most, tied to universities that depend
heavily on federal research dollars, protesting the
Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy by
refusing to cooperate with military recruiters is no
longer an option.
If schools bar recruiters, in the wake of
Monday's 8-0 Supreme Court ruling, they could
give up federal money that in some cases amounts to
hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Those who opposed
the policy acknowledge they will have to take their
fight against "don't ask, don't tell" to other fronts.
"No law school is going to continue to deny the
military access if it means putting the medical
schools and science departments out of business," said
Larry Kramer, dean of Stanford Law School, where a
faculty group joined in the case challenging the 1994
recruiting law known as the Solomon Amendment.
Opponents of the law said the only possible
silver lining is that it could help them better focus
on their real goal: persuading Congress to abolish
"don't ask, don't tell" and allow gay men and women to
serve openly in the military.
"Now that the Supreme Court has handed down its
decision, I really hope universities, not just
Harvard, will be more aggressive [in contesting the
policy]," said Jeffrey Paik, copresident of the
Harvard Law School chapter of Lambda, a gay rights group.
"Now that this strategy has fallen down, I hope
they'll work to come up with new strategies."
The ruling was expected on college campuses.
Some universities, though opposed to the Solomon
Amendment, declined to sign on to the case, correctly
predicting it wouldn't hold up in court.
Others took a different legal approach, arguing
they hadn't discriminated against the military but had
treated it like any other employer with such policies.
But the court rejected that argument too.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American
Center for Law and Justice, called the decision "an
important victory for the military and ultimately for
our national security." And Anne Neal, president of
the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, said the
decision ends "the blatant hypocrisy of institutions
which deny military recruiters while accepting
billions in federal funds."
"It's a sorry statement when it takes a Supreme
Court decision to show why our colleges and
universities need to give students basic information
about possible careers and the defense of our country,"
Most schools already were allowing military
recruiters full campus access as they awaited the
Supreme Court decision. At Stanford, for instance,
Kramer said the military must demonstrate like any other
recruiter that at least a few students are interested
in speaking with them in order to be invited on
campus, but after that they are given full access.
A handful of law schools independent of larger
universities--Vermont Law School, New York Law
School, and William Mitchell College of Law in
Minnesota--previously had said they would forfeit
access to federal funding. William Mitchell's
president and dean, Allen Easley, said Monday their
policy would continue. Rick Matasar of New York Law said
that in light of the decision the faculty there would
likely consider whether barring recruiters was
still the best way to register opposition to "don't
ask, don't tell."
At Golden Gate University School of Law in San
Francisco, another member of the core group of 36
institutions and faculties that challenged the Solomon
Amendment, Dean Frederic White said there is no option now
but to openly welcome the military, though he said
there will continue to be protest and debate. The
ruling noted students and institutions remain free to
exercise their rights to protest the military's policies.
"We'll probably continue to talk about it, but
at the same time, we are a law school, so we'll
respect the decision of the supreme court of the
land," White said. (AP)