Magna cum Saudi

Thursday’s Investors Business Daily ran an important editorial on Harvard and the Solomon Amendment: “Magna cum Saudi.” It takes up a number of issues we have discussed here and effectively juxtaposes them for illumination. Here is the editorial in full:

Representatives of autocratic theocracies that finance terror, oppress women and consider homosexuality a capital crime are welcomed at Harvard and other campuses. But not the U.S. Marines.

At many of our so-called institutions of higher learning, which have become de facto liberal re-education camps, there’s a crusade to ban military recruiters. These champions of diversity and human rights say the problem is the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuality, which they say violates their anti-discrimination policy.

It may have escaped the notice of these scholars, particularly those at the Harvard Law School, but under the U.S. Constitution the military is controlled by civilians. It was Congress, not the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that passed “don’t ask, don’t tell” into law. If they have a problem with how the armed forces treats homosexuals, they should write their congressman — excuse us, congress person — and take their righteous indignation to the ballot box next election.

Of course, this righteous indignation is somewhat selective. While banning recruiters because of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” they welcome and honor members of Congress who voted for it. Last year, Rep. Nita Lowey, who voted for it in 1993, was welcomed to the Pace University School of Law last year to receive the “Pioneer of Justice and Equality for Women and the Law.”

Lowey also voted last year to significantly strengthen the Solomon Amendment, which would withhold federal dollars from schools that ban recruiters, and which 36 law schools argued this month before the U.S. Supreme Court was unconstitutional. But an Army JAG (Judge Advocate General) recruiter, who is powerless to change “don’t ask, don’t tell,” or repeal the Solomon Amendment, is vilified and banned.

The schools argue that federal dollars should not be used to compel them to propagate opinions with which they disagree. Yet they impose on students fees that are used to reimburse speakers whose opinions the students may find repugnant.

In hearing oral arguments on the Solomon case, Chief Justice John Roberts said that nobody infers academic endorsement of the views and policies of every recruiter allowed on campus. And as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor noted, recruiters and speakers come and go, while schools are free to indoctrinate, uh, educate their students on a perpetual basis.

But if opposition to repugnant views is the issue, why did Harvard, while it was justifying the ban on military recruiters, accept a $20 million gift from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and agree to set up a Middle East research center?

We could be wrong, but it’s doubtful that the center will be involved in defending Israel’s right to exist.

Talal, a member of the ruling family of a repressive, totalitarian, sexist theocracy, is the individual whose $10 million gift to 9-11 families was returned by then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani after Talal said, “Our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek.”

Putting his money where his mouth is, the prince in 2002 participated in a Saudi-sponsored live-broadcast telethon to benefit the families of homicide bombers who killed Israelis. It eventually raised $100 million, $27 million of which was his personal donation.

In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is a capital crime, and penalties allowed by Sharia law for such “deviant sexual behavior” range from imprisonment to flogging to death. In the past, people accused of homosexual behavior have been beheaded.

Maybe Harvard’s policy on Saudi repression is “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Earlier this month University of Minnesota Law School Dean Alex Johnson took to the pages of the Star Tribune together with Professors Dale Carpenter and Beverly Balos to explain their support of the FAIR litigation against the Solomon Amendment. Their column is no longer accessible on the Star Tribune Web site, but its relevant points are quoted in this post by law student Jason Martell on the Fritz Feds site of the law school’s Federalist Society chapter. For additional illumination, juxtapose the arguments of the University of Minnesota Law School crew with those of the IBD editorial, or of Martell. (Thanks to George Mason University Law School Dean Daniel Polsby for alerting us to the IBD editorial.)