As noted below, the Supreme Court today unanimously rebuffed many of the nation’s top law schools, upholding the federal Solomon Amendment, which requires schools receiving federal funding to permit military recruiters on campus.
In the decision by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court first rejected a novel argument that had been put forward by the Harvard Law Faculty. It then turned to each of the many other arguments made by the F.A.I.R. organization, which brought the case, rejecting each of them in turn. The law schools are not forced to speak merely by permitting the military on campus for recruiting purposes, nor are they being forced to associate with the military in the way that James Dale had sought to associate with the Boy Scouts.
The Claremont Institute filed a brief in the case, and it seems to have had some influence, particulary on the Court’s holding that the Solomon Amendment was not an unconstitutional condition on federal spending because Congress could actually impose the military recruitment requirement even apart from the federal spending. Left unaddressed--though now getting a bit of a spotlight--is the fact, learned by many during the course of the litigation, that Harvard (with its $30BILLION endowment) receives more than $300 MILLION annually from the federal government. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the Harvard faculty to start protesting that corporate welfare any time soon.
The most troubling aspect of the case was how easily many of our nations top legal scholars were tempted to ignore clear constitutional law in order to reach their preferred outcome. The Court’s unanimous slapdown of their ill-conceived claims would, in a more perfect world, convince the dons of the legal academy that the Court is not the place to play out political disputes. Unfortunately, that is not likely.