US high court hears military recruitment case on law school access

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday heard oral arguments [recorded audio, via C-SPAN] in Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic Rights (FAIR) [Duke Law backgrounder; merit briefs], concerning whether the Solomon Amendment [text; FAIR backgrounder], a federal law that requires educational institutions, including law schools, to allow military recruiters on campus in order to receive federal funds, violates universities' First Amendment right of association. The Solomon Amendment was first passed in 1994, in response to university law schools banning military recruiters because the Defense Department's exclusion of homosexuals violated their non-discrimination policies. FAIR [advocacy website], an association of 36 law schools and law faculties, sued US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to prevent enforcement of the federal law. During arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts [JURIST news archive] suggested that campuses that didn't agree with the policy could simply refuse federal funds. However, opponents of the Solomon Amendment argue that federal money makes up a substantial amount of campus funding, and forgoing it would be impossible. Justice David Souter [Oyez profile] voiced his concern that tying federal funding to military recruiters' access to campus could hinder the free speech rights of universities. AP has more. FAIR offers additional material on the Solomon Amendment and law school policies on on-campus military recruitment.

Also Tuesday, the Court heard arguments in Domino's Pizza v. McDonald [Duke Law backgrounder; merit briefs], where the Court is deciding whether a Nevada businessman should be allowed to sue Domino's Pizza [corporate website] for racial discrimination even though he did not have an individual contract with the company. McDonald sued the pizza chain under an 1866 civil rights law that protects equal rights in contracting alleging that Domino's refused to honor its construction contracts with McDonald's company because he is black. During arguments Tuesday, justices questioned whether McDonald had standing to bring the suit because he was not an individual party to the contract. AP has more.

 

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