For most Americans, a deal's a deal. Agree with a used-car salesman, for example, to pay him a thousand dollars in exchange for an old clunker, and he will hand you the keys as soon as you hand him the cash.
This basic concept of fair dealing, however, has not been accepted by the people who run some of America's most elite law schools. They believe they have a "right" to force a special deal on U.S. taxpayers. Essentially, it would be framed like this: They take our money, then sue us in federal court hoping liberal judges will let them keep the car, too. In the actual deal the law schools now envision, however, it is not an old car they get to keep after taking our tax dollars -- it is their practice of discriminating against the U.S. military.
The Supreme Court heard arguments this week in the case of Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights. The former, of course, is Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The latter is a coalition of law professors and law schools, supported by, among others, Yale and Harvard. The question put to the court: Is Rumsfeld violating the First Amendment free-speech rights of the law schools when he enforces the deal codified in a law called the Solomon Amendment?
The truth is that the Solomon Amendment does not infringe on anyone's free speech rights. It merely helps U.S. military recruiters gain equal access to college and graduate students who might be interested in serving their country.
The late Rep. Jerry Solomon was a conservative Republican from upstate New York who served in the Marines in the early 1950s and later spent 20 years in Congress advocating the cause of U.S. servicemen and women. When Republicans won a congressional majority in 1994, he became chairman of the House Rules Committee.
At the time, liberal administrators and faculty at some universities and law schools were annoyed that liberal Democratic President Bill Clinton had issued his so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy, leaving intact the federal law regarding homosexuals in the military. Under this law, as U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement explained in his brief in Rumsfeld, "a person may not serve in the armed forces if he has engaged in homosexual acts, stated that he is a homosexual or married a person of the same sex."
To retaliate against Congress for this law, some schools barred their doors, or restricted access, to military recruiters.