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February 13, 2005

Leading by Example. Not.

I had two interviews yesterday, both of which went much better than the horror of last week, even if they were perhaps not for jobs I'd like as much. Who knows? Maybe I'd like one of these jobs even more? But the interviews were part of the GW/Georgetown Public Interest/Government Interview Program, and since the US Army and Air Force JAG Corps were there interviewing, the program marked their names with an asterisk followed by this disclaimer:
This employer discriminates against gay, lesbian and bisexual persons under the authority of 10 U.S.C. section 654. The George Washington University Law School policy on equal opportunity prohibits unlawful discrimination. The Association of American Law Schools — of which George Washington University Law School is a founding member — and the National Association for Law Placement each have policies forbidding discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexual persons. The presence of this employer at the George Washington University should in no way be construed as an endorsement of this employer's practice of discrimination.
While I was pleased to see this disclaimer, and also pleased that it is so bluntly worded (“this employer discriminates”), I still wish there was more GW could do. And since GW and Georgetown were in this together (GULC had its own disclaimer, more or less similar), it seems they could take this as an opportunity to “make a federal case” out of this. I mean, these are big law schools; what if they gave the JAG Corp the finger and dared the federal gov't to take away all federal funds? I'm thinking the case would probably make it to the Supreme Court and the Solomon Amendment would be history. Or maybe not. Can someone clarify what is going on here? I mean, I see here that the Solomon Amendment was found unconstitutional, yet GW and GULC still apparently fear its consequences. So what gives?

Posted February 13, 2005 09:54 AM | general politics law school

It's only unconstitutional in the 3rd Circuit. Suits in other circuits are pending. AALS has a rule that if you're going to comply with the Solomon Amendment, you have to put disclaimers like that, and take other affirmative steps to inform the community that you're against it.

But it's quite a quandary, because it's the AALS rule that you can't let discriminatory groups on campus, and it's the law that you have to let JAG on. So universities basically have to choose between losing their federal funding for the entire university or lose acreditation for their law school.

Students should make sure that their schools are members of FAIR, the plaintiff group in the litigation against Solomon, and are willing to go public about it. Georgetown and GW are, as is Northeastern, although it's not on the list yet.

Posted by: monica at February 13, 2005 04:44 PM

You probably don't want Supreme Court review of the Solomon Amendment. They would likely uphold it.

Posted by: Ed at February 13, 2005 05:17 PM

True, but I think it's going up there anyway. The court likes reviewing law school policies.

Posted by: monica at February 14, 2005 06:47 AM

actually, i'm pretty sure that the problem isn't that it is only unconstitutional in the third circuit, but rather that the government asked for a stay of the 3rd circuit injunction after petitioning for cert. from the SC; in the interm, schools can't do anything (except sign up with FAIR in protest). if cert. isn't granted, the third circuit's injunction is binding nationwide - the defendant was ashcroft in his role as SoD, and the 3rd circuit held that the solomon amendment was unconstitutional. (there is also a recent 2nd district court holding, and if that goes up on appeal before the SC hears the 3rd circuit case, perhaps they will be linked.)

solomon really puts a vicegrip on the balls of law school CDO offices and administrations. years ago, NYU tried the 'let's just see what happens approach' and didn't allow recruiting and they nearly got those nuts cut off. the threat is real - the govt will withold ALL federal funding except loans from the ENTIRE school if military recruiting is prohibitied.

basically all schools can do right now is follow the AALS rules for mitigating. but students can do a whole lot of other things - protest, offer info sessions, etc.

Posted by: amelia at February 14, 2005 08:36 PM

A stay has been entered, so it isn't enforceable yet. Plus, the schools are dead wrong here. And they know it. Ask yourself this: Why are most of the schools in the suit proceeding ananonymously? Because they know they are wrong. Perhaps the Federal Gov'et should defund all of the law schools. This way, the schools can do what they want.

Really, if the law schools had real principle, they'd refuse the money.

Posted by: Brian at February 17, 2005 08:02 PM

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