Jewish World Review Sept. 25, 2003 / 28 Elul, 5763

Dan Abrams

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The effort by some law schools to keep military recruiters off their campuses


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | An organization of law schools and legal scholars have sued the Defense Department and other federal agencies. They want to be able to keep recruiters off campus. The schools say it's about discrimination against homosexuals, but I fear it's also about politically correct discrimination against the military.

WHY? THEY SAY the military's "don't ask, don't tell policy" with regard to homosexuals violates their campus anti-discrimination codes.

Right now if the schools keep them out, a federal law ensures they lose federal funding. Why shouldn't the government be able to just say no to funding for schools who exclude the same federal government that's providing them with funds? They say it's a First Amendment issue about academic freedom and their right to enforce their anti-discrimination code.

So the solution to that supposed First Amendment problem is to prevent students from hearing what the military has to say? No one's forcing them to join. Anyone can protest outside. The idea that hundreds of others recruiters are accommodated on these campuses, but not the military is both troubling and offensive. If they want to challenge the military's policy in court, go for it. But they know that challenge has been rejected by every federal court of appeal that has heard the issue and the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to step in.

This is just a back door protest to a policy that's been upheld by the courts.

Look, I don't think the don't ask, don't tell policy makes a lot of sense and I'd expect that eventually it will be changed. But keeping recruiters out isn't the answer.

What's next? Refusing to play Army and Navy in sports. And what if a campus decides to pass a no-violence policy instead of just a no-discrimination policy? That would just be another excuse to keep the military out. They say it's about being able to enforce their codes. I say their codes don't trump a perfectly sensible and patriotic law that says no military recruiting means no federal funds.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 9-10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.

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