Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Solomon amendment: It looks like the law which requires colleges and universities to allow military recruiters the same access to campus as private employers receives will be upheld by the Supreme Court. The law, referred to as the Solomon Amendment, allows the government to punish educational institutions which do not comply with the law by pulling hundreds of millions o of dollars in federal funding.
I listened to the hourlong oral argument (available here) earlier today and was surprised by the vacuity of the arguments by E. Joshua Rosencranz against the Solomon Amendment. I know that you've got to work with what you've got, but judging by his arguments you'd think that allowing the military to recruit on campus was no different than literally holding a gun to someone's head and forcing them to spout propaganda.
The New York Times account of the oral argument included a key part of the event that others left out -- one that made me laugh out loud.
The lawyer adjusted his focus. The law schools have their own message, "that they believe it is immoral to abet discrimination," he said.
This time, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor took issue. "But they can say that to every student who enters the room," she said.
"And when they do it, your honor, the answer of the students is, we don't believe you," Mr. Rosenkranz said.
"The reason they don't believe you is because you're willing to take the money," Chief Justice Roberts interjected. "What you're saying is this is a message we believe in strongly, but we don't believe in it to the detriment* of $100 million."
What the Times (and PBS' Newshour) left out was Rosencranz's response: "That's right, your honor."
And that's where the hypocrisy comes in. "I hate you, but give me money." Once again, lawyers behaving like teenagers.
*On a nit-picky note, listening to the tape, the Times got one thing wrong. Roberts didn't say "detriment" he said "tune" (at 42:00 on the C-SPAN audio) -- that's one error I'm sure the Times will be willing to correct. Why? Because it's meaningless.