Wednesday, February 02, 2005
You can fight the defense department
Two days ago, a group of faculty at Yale Law School (including Jack Balkin and me) won a case against Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department. U.S. District Court Judge Janet C. Hall held:
The best that can be said about this "win" is that a college now can advance academic freedom by making academia less diverse. The amendment's ultimate purpose was held to unduly force (the dissent's arguments on why it did not are pretty convincing) a college to allow military recruiters on campus. You know, to promote the military.
Yay! Now certain colleges can in some small way keep out a point of view. A very proud day in academia. And, take money from the gov't while refusing to let its agents speak their mind. Seems fair.
No problem, Joe. The military gets first crack at the students now while they are in high school, thanks to "No Child Left Behind." Unless, of course, the child's parent(s) write and file an objection.
Congratulations on your victory. As a Yale alumni, I must respond to the latter comments.
I don't see what merit, beyond a little bit of extra symbolism, would have come from the university joining the lawsuit. The Law School was apparently amply able to show standing and for some odd reason I believe they were able to find adequate counsel. Bringing the whole university in would have introduced an unnecessary political liability both to Yale and to the case when it attracted additional attention. I don't like the current political situation any more than you do, but ignoring it for mere personal symbolism--since the symbolism would have meant very little to anyone else except opponents--is not the right course.
An additional word on the criticism referenced by the alumni's comments. First, a strong rejection of the gov't policies per se is desirable, but not joining in the lawsuit is not a clear sign that the president supports them or anything. The third objection is of some merit, but depends on the reason supplied for not joining.
The second is rhetorical overkill. The example given is a clear governmental interference (not religious neutral at that) with curriculum matters. I wonder though if it would be a great idea to bar intelligent design lecturers (or books from the library) from the campus totally. No matter, the situation here is not really comparable to that example.
Please do keep judges from recruiting on Yale's campus. Maybe this will provide the long overdue opportunity for judges to learn that they can get clerks who are more than capable from schools other than the top 5. Your arrogance at suggesting that Yale dictate federal judicial policy (and maybe they can) is simply amazing!
I understand that when people litigate cases they tend to put blinders on and convince themselves over the course of several months that the other side's arguments are completely meritless, but I would have expected better from a law professor.
Treating this as a purely academic debate to see if the rules permit you to force political correctness on the military is the type of attitude that causes many in the real world to view academics as arrogant, useless wastes of flesh. It's much easier to contort the Constitution to fit your purposes than to debate the real consequences of the military's policy.
If YLS had a principled disagreement with the Solomon Amendments, they would refuse federal funding outright and explain why the policy is unsound.
Perhaps the judges will exercise their free speech rights too. Others would do well to follow Acker's lead.
Judge won't use clerks from Yale
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
News staff writer
An Alabama federal judge has told Yale Law School he won't accept its graduates for clerkships because the school blocks military recruiters from campus.
Acker wrote that he was exercising the same freedom of speech that U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall supported when she ruled Jan. 31. She backed the faculty's claim that their rights to free speech were violated by enforcement of the Solomon amendment, which requires schools to provide access to military recruiters or lose federal funding, including student loans.
In response, Acker said Yale Law School students need not apply.
"Some of my very best law clerks have been from the law school from which I proudly graduated," Acker said. "I therefore recognize that this publicly announced decision will hurt me more than the allowing of military recruiters would hurt YLS."
Efforts to reach Koh were unsuccessful Tuesday.
As some friends have noted here, YLS is only hurting herself by permitting the faculty to strangle the legitimate career interests of her students. Extending this "ban" to judges, as your post suggests, will take this debacle to new lows.
Can you imagine prospective students considering their application to YLS, only to learn that the faculty may not recommend them to certain "undesirable" judges? The nation's best and brightest might think twice before they let Yale defeat their chosen career before they even arrive.
It may not take that long. According to the news article posted here, the damage to YLS students by her faculty has already begun. Well done, gentlemen. I hope you are proud.
As a Yale graduate and long-serving officer in the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger regiment, allow me to express my great relief that the military will not look forward to the burden of spending vast amounts to recruit the merest handful of whiny, self-important Yale law graduates into the JAG corps. The military has been, and will continue to be much better off with only the most tenuous connection to the Ivy League, a bastion of that which makes America so much less than it could be. Read much Tacitus? We are, after all, among the very last institutions in this Republic that maintain the standards of civic and personal virtue that allowed for such cesspools of self-indulgence. As long as we can confine the cesspools to the blue states, we'll keep the Republic honest.
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