Paul Mirengoff is a Stanford Law School alumnus who has taken note of the extraordinary measures his alma mater has taken to undermine its compliance with the Solomon Amendment. Paul has covered the subject in posts here, here, and here (with Dean Larry Kramer’s response to Paul’s first two posts). Now comes the National Law Journal to cover the story, citing Paul’s posts. TaxProf Paul Caron takes note, and UCSD Law Professor Tom Smith comments in part (do read the whole thing):
Stanford Law School faculty members are sending out to students who would interview with JAG recruiters what I can only characterize as an unbelievably obnoxious letter urging students to meet with recruiters off campus. I should think a counter-measure (to use some Navy talk!) that would surely work would be a letter back from a student which said, thanks for your recent letter; in fact I prefer to meet with the JAG recruiters on campus, and if it even looks like this is being made inconvenient in any way, I will see if I can find a lawyer willing to represent me in a suit in federal court alleging that you are discriminating against me and my lawful efforts to get employed, and violating the Solomon Amendment. The reaction to such a letter, I confidently predict, would most resemble the knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who say “Run Away! Run Away!” It’s one thing to sign a letter; it’s another thing to explain to a federal judge why you shouldn’t lose federal funding. And of course, it is another thing entirely to put on a uniform and get shot at.
Indicative of the spirit in which Dean Kramer approaches the issues involved here (in the post linked above) is his attribution of phobic motives to those who disagree with him. It is also worth noting that in his message to us Dean Kramer characterizes “don’t ask, don’t tell” as a “rule” or a “recuitment policy.” Unlike the “recruitment policy” adopted by other employers to which he refers, however, “don’t ask, don’t tell” is the law of the land to which the armed forces are honor bound to adhere. One would think this is a point that the dean of a law school would acknowledge in some straightforward manner. Dean Kramer and Stanford fit into the unlovely picture I tried to sketch in “JAGs not welcome.”
PAUL adds: I think it’s disgraceful that the Stanford faculty (with some exceptions) and its dean are trying to deny our military access to high quality candidates merely because it is following the law of the land. Signing the letter to students undoubtedly makes faculty members feel good about themselves, but it leaves the student recipients to wonder whether, if they choose to ignore the faculty’s plea, they will suffer adverse consequences when (for example) it comes time to obtain faculty recommendations. The law school probably dismisses this concern, but would it do so if the only faculty letter writing consisted of urging students not to interview with law firms who represent terrorist detainees? I doubt it.
But there’s another story here that is hinted at in the last line of the National Law Journal story: “The U.S. Department of Defense referred calls to the U.S Department of Justice, which had no comment at press time.” Questions have been raised (though not necessarily with respect to Stanford) about whether the Defense Department is enforcing the Solomon Amendment or simply turning a blind eye to questionable tactics that are keeping military recruiters off of college campuses. I hope to write about this matter in the future.
UPDATE: Consistent with Paul’s point in the first paragraph above, UCLA Law Professor Bainbridge comments:
If you believe the left