Solomon Amendment Overturned by Federal Appeals Court
December 2, 2004
Colleges and universities cannot be penalized with the withdrawal of federal funds for barring military recruiters from their campuses because the military discriminates against homosexuals, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The ruling, released on November 29, stated that under the free speech protections in the First Amendment, the government may not force higher education institutions to endorse a message that violates their own policies.
The decision overturns a 10-year-old statute known as the Solomon Amendment that enables the federal government to withhold funds from the Department of Defense (DoD) as well as defense-related money from other agencies. Since enactment of the Solomon Amendment, a number of law schools have restricted military recruiters' access to their campuses because DoD's discrimination against openly gay men and lesbians ran contrary to the institutions' antidiscrimination policies.
The lawsuit, FAIR et al. v. Rumsfeld et al, was brought by an association of law schools called the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR), the Society of American Law Teachers, the Colaition for Equality, the Rutgers Gay and Lesbian Caucus, and several students and professors. Amicus briefs on behalf of the plaintiffs were submitted by the American Association of Law Schools, the American Association of University Professors, Harvard Law School professors, and others. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Education Secretary Roderick S. Paige, among others, were named as defendants.
According to Judge Thomas L. Ambro's opinion, the court found that the Solomon Amendment violated the institutions' First Amendment rights by forcing them to "propagate, accommodate, and subsidize the military's message." Ironically, the ruling cited the U.S. Supreme Court decision enabling the Boy Scouts of America to exclude a gay scout leader because "homosexual conduct is inconsistent with...the Scout Oath."
"Just as the Boy Scouts believed that 'homosexual conduct is inconsistent the the Scout Oath,'...the law schools believe that employment discrimination is inconsistent with their commitment to justice and fairness," states Judge Ambro.
- NACUBO Statement on Endowment Inquiry
- NACUBO Urges One-Year Postponement of Changes to 1098-T Reporting Requirements
- GASB Addresses Asset Retirement Obligations and Seeks Field Testers
- 2016 Higher Education Accounting Forum
April 10-12, 2016
- 2016 CAO and CBO Collaborations
August 1-2, 2016
- 2016 Planning and Budgeting Forum
September 19-20, 2016
- WEBCAST: Legislative Lunchcast: A 30-Minute Washington Update from NACUBO
Monday, February 22, 2016 12:00pm ET
- WEBCAST: Responsibility Center Management: Two Different Perspectives
Thursday, March 17, 2016 1:00PM ET
- WEBCAST: Title IX: Key Issues Surrounding Institutional Compliance
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 1:00PM ET
- WEBCAST: The Clery Act: Strategic Planning to Mitigate Institutional Risk
Thursday, May 26, 2016 1:00PM ET
- ON-DEMAND: NACUBO Live! Results of the 2015 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments
- A Guide to College and University Budgeting: Foundations for Institutional Effectiveness, 4th ed. - by Larry Goldstein
- NACUBO's Guide to Unitizing Investment Pools - by Mary S. Wheeler
- Managing and Collecting Student Accounts and Loans - by David R. Glezerman and Dennis DeSantis