Guess Who’s Returning to Campus Tomorrow?


Posted on January 29th, 2009 by Katherine Franke

The U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General.

Hopefully this will be the last hiring season in which law schools are asked to bracket their objections to employers who explicitly discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation for the better financial benefit of the University (the Solomon Amendment threatens cutting off all federal funds to every unit of a university if one unit – in this case the law school – refuses to allow the military to recruit on campus).  President Obama has pledged to overrturn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in favor a policy that does not condition service in the many branches of the military (including service by lawyers) on heterosexuality. It’s our job to keep the pressure on him to do so.

In the meantime, the Columbia Law School faculty has again issued it’s formal objection to the law school being forced to allow military recruiters on-campus access to our students.  For now, we meet discrimination with speech:

We, the undersigned members of the faculty of Columbia Law School, strongly oppose the federal law known as the Solomon Amendment.  Through punitive financial coercion, this law requires the Law School to allow representatives of the United States armed services to engage in discriminatory recruitment on our campus through the Law School’s Career Services office.  This recruitment directly violates the Law School’s longstanding non-discrimination policy, which forbids employers from recruiting on our campus if they discriminate based on, inter alia, sexual orientation.  Under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, which bars openly lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals from military service, military employers discriminate explicitly based on sexual orientation.

In March 2006, in Fair v. Rumsfeld, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Solomon Amendment against a challenge based on the First Amendment rights to speech and association.   The Court held that law schools could be required to permit military recruiters access to campus, notwithstanding the schools’ non-discrimination policies. However, Chief Justice Roberts, speaking for a unanimous Court, also made clear that “[s]tudents and faculty are free to associate to voice their disapproval of the military’s message.”

Accordingly, we reaffirm our commitment to an educational environment at the Law School that is free from discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, and handicap or disability.

The faculty recognizes with regret the harms to which our lesbian, gay and bisexual students may be subject as a result of the military recruiters’ presence on campus in violation of our non-discrimination policy.

The faculty further regrets the harm to the United States and to the rule of law occasioned by a federal law that excludes highly qualified lawyers from serving in the United States armed forces.

MATTHEW ADLER (visiting)
JOSÉ ALVAREZ
MARK BARENBERG
GEORGE A. BERMANN
VIVIAN BERGER
BARBARA ARONSTEIN BLACK
VINCENT BLASI
CHRISTINA BURNETT
SARAH CLEVELAND
JOHN COFFEE
KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW
LORI DAMROSCH
MICHAEL DOYLE
ARIELA DUBLER
HAROLD EDGAR
RANDALL EDWARDS
ELIZABETH F. EMENS
JEFFREY FAGAN
ROBERT A. FERGUSON
MERRITT B. FOX
KATHERINE FRANKE
RICHARD N. GARDNER
PHILIP GENTY
JANE GINSBURG
SUZANNE GOLDBERG
HARVEY GOLDSCHMID
KENT GREENAWALT
JACK GREENBERG
JAMAL GREENE
MICHAEL HELLER
LOUIS HENKIN
JIM HOOVER
CONRAD A. JOHNSON
OLATI JOHNSON
WILLIAM K. JONES
AVERY W. KATZ
GREG LASTOWKA (visiting)
BENJAMIN LIEBMAN
CAROL B. LIEBMAN
LANCE LIEBMAN
EDWARD LLOYD
LOUIS LOWENSTEIN
GILLIAN METZGER
CURTIS MILHAUPT
EBEN MOGLEN
TREVOR MORRISON
ARTHUR MURPHY
KATHARINA PISTOR
ANDRZEJ RAPACZYNSKI
ALEX RASKOLNIKOV
JOSEPH RAZ
DANIEL RICHMAN
PETER ROSENBLUM
CHARLES SABEL
CAROL SANGER
BARBARA A. SCHATZ
ELIZABETH SCOTT
ROBERT E. SCOTT
THEODORE SHAW
WILLIAM SIMON
MICHAEL I. SOVERN
JANE SPINAK
PETER L. STRAUSS
SUSAN STURM
KENDALL THOMAS
MATTHEW WAXMAN
PATRICIA WILLIAMS
JOHN WITT
TIM WU
MARY ZULACK

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