Solomon Amendment Victory

Yale Law School Professor Jack Balkin reports that two days ago, a group of Yale Law Faculty won a case against the defense department challenging the Solomon Amendment. The Solomon Amendment requires schools to provide access to military recruiters or lose federal aid—including student loans. Military recruiting is inconsistent with the campus access policy of nearly every law school in the country because of the military’s discriminatory policies with respect to sexual orientation.

The court held that the Solomon Amendment is unconstitutional as applied to Yale Law School. This is an important decision, and if upheld on appeal could signal a strengthening of the “unconstitutional conditions” doctrine, which forbids the government from restricting constitutional rights “through the backdoor” by conditioning a benefit on not engaging in otherwise constitutionally protected activity.

This was a big issue when I was in law school. I suspect the Solomon Amendment is responsible for the spam recruitment email I recently received from the Marines, although I can’t be sure where they got my law school email address (it isn’t one I’ve ever used publicly).

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