Sunday, December 04, 2005

Gay military case to be heard by Supreme Court this week

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According to an article published by News, the United States Supreme Court will hear its first Roberts Court case involving gay issues this week. The case, Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic & Institutional Rights, focuses on whether colleges and universities have the right to ban on-campus military recruiters because of the United States Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Some universities and colleges have chosen to ban recruiters and many were threatened with having federal funding pulled. The Solomon Amendment allows the Secretary of Defense, currently Donald Rumsfeld, to withdraw the federal funding from institutions of higher learning which ban recruiters. According to the article:
A number of universities banned the recruiters because "don't ask, don't tell" - the military's ban on gays serving openly - violates the schools' human rights codes. Under a law called the Solomon Amendment, schools receiving federal funds are prohibited from denying the military entry to campuses, access to students on campus and access to student recruiting information. Twenty-four law schools that banned military recruiters went to court to fight the law. Last year the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the Solomon Amendment infringes on the free speech rights of schools. (story) "The Solomon Amendment requires law schools to express a message that is incompatible with their educational objectives, and no compelling governmental interest has been shown to deny this freedom," the court said in a written ruling. The Bush Administration appealed the ruling to the US Supreme Court. (story) Without waiting for the court to hear the case the Pentagon in September suspended funding to three universities which barred military recruiters. (story) A day later Harvard Law School said it would no longer ban military recruiters from its campus after it was threatened by the Pentagon. (story)
The Supreme Court has announced that it will release audiotapoes of the proceddings immediately after the proceedings are done. TV cameras are not allowed in Court proceedings and the Court very rarely releases audiotapes.


My commentary from the SCRC blog:

Back a couple of months ago, when the campus anti-war groups were protesting against on-campus military recruitment, I became intrigued. In passing, outside of the Elliott University Center, I talked to one of our Vice Chancellors, Dr. Carol Disque. Basically, I just told her I was concerned that the University allowed the US Military to recruit on campus because of their discriminatory policies toward a certain population of the United States of America. She thanked me for voicing my concern and said that the University is aware of concerns such as mine.

I went on to acknowledge that I know the hands of the University are practically tied in this matter of on-campus recruitment and that I realized banning them would result in negative impacts upon the University. She replied with, "Yes," it would. But, again, she thanked me for voicing my concern to her and it made me feel better, at least, the Dr. Disque was at least willing to stop for a while and listen to a student's concerm, even though she was, no doubt, heading back to Mossman for some important meeting or something.

Hopefully the Supreme Court will just settle this issue (and in my personal opinions and hopes... I hope the Solomon Amendment is struck down).