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Will they still take the money?
Court Upholds Campus Military Recruiting By GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
20 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that colleges that accept federal money must allow military recruiters on campus, despite university objections to the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays.
Justices rejected a free-speech challenge from law schools and their professors who claimed they should not be forced to associate with military recruiters or promote their campus appearances.
Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the court, said that the campus visits are an effective military recruiting tool.
“A military recruiter’s mere presence on campus does not violate a law school’s right to associate, regardless of how repugnant the law school considers the recruiter’s message,” he wrote.
Law schools had become the latest battleground over the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy allowing gay men and women to serve in the military only if they keep their sexual orientation to themselves.
Many universities forbid the participation of recruiters from public agencies and private companies that have discriminatory policies.
The court’s decision upholds a law that requires colleges that take federal money to accommodate recruiters.
Roberts, writing his third decision since joining the court last fall, said there are other less drastic options for protesting the policy. “Students and faculty are free to associate to voice their disapproval of the military’s message,” he wrote.
“Recruiters are, by definition, outsiders who come onto campus for the limited purpose of trying to hire students ? not to become members of the school’s expressive association,” he wrote.
The federal law, known as the Solomon Amendment after its first congressional sponsor, mandates that universities give the military the same access as other recruiters or forfeit federal money.
College leaders have said they could not afford to lose federal help, some $35 billion a year.
The court heard arguments in the case in December, and justices signaled then that they had little problem with the law.
Roberts filed the only opinion, which was joined by every justice but Samuel Alito. Alito did not participate because he was not on the bench when the case was argued.
“The Solomon Amendment neither limits what law schools may say nor requires them to say anything,” Roberts wrote.
The case is Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, 04-1152.