In today's New York Times, Linda Greenhouse reports that the Supreme Court is likely to uphold the Solomon Amendment. However, she relates an interesting exchange from oral argument:I note Dahlia Litwick's report on this part of the argument:"Asked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg what a ... school 'could do concretely while the [military] recruiter is in the room,' [Solicitor General Paul D.] Clement replied that as long as the school granted equal access, 'They could put signs on the bulletin board next to the door. They could engage in speech. They could help organize student protests.'"I plan to rely on this representation to the Supreme Court by the chief legal advocate for the Solomon Amendment. As a member of my school's Committee on Cultural Pluralism and Diversity, I will help organize protests every time military recruiters set foot on campus.
I urge all of you also to follow the Solicitor General's lead.
Clement, flashing his counterculture creds, suggests they could "put up signs on bulletin boards, give speeches, organize a student protest."I suppose that at some point a protest would interfere with the recruiting and violate the law, but the "more speech" remedy should be available to the law schools. I'd like to see those who object to the "don't ask, don't tell policy" be respectful to the students who are seeking out this public service job and to the military recruiters who did not make what is a statutory policy. Hostility aimed at these persons is wrong and should backfire. The important thing is to present the civil, reasoned argument for allowing gay persons to serve in the military. This is an appealing and sound argument, and it is most persuasive when it is presented in a calm, articulate way. I'd like to see the law schools hold symposia where the issue can be discussed in an intellectual environment, with good advocates from the military to explain the policy and debate with their opponents.
He briefly loses Kennedy. "The school can organize a protest where everyone jeers at the recruiters and the applicant? That's equal access?" the justice fumes. Clement stands firm. Yes. Cue Scalia the wiseacre: "You are not going to be a military recruiter are you?" Scalia and Kennedy don't want to allow student jeering. But Clement would permit it. "This statute gives a right to equal access," he says. After that, recruiters are on their own.