Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - News, Features, Opinions...


A law school farce
Scripps Howard News Service


March 07, 2006

Take a look at the recent Supreme Court case on law schools refusing to allow military recruiters on campus, and what you conclude first off is that these are institutions not of higher learning, but of higher hypocrisy. What you conclude next is that the last thing they have any respect for is law, even though they teach it.

Some three dozen schools in a coalition said their First Amendment rights of free speech and association were violated by having these recruiters on campus because, you see, the military has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals that the schools abhor.

Fine. Federal law requires you to let these recruiters set up shop at your school only if the university takes federal assistance. If their presence offends you - if you think human dignity and your honor are at stake - the university can forsake the loot and tell them to go away. It can be a ton of money, and the university as a whole would suffer, but what is money next to principle? Either the universities are less exercised by principle than all the rhetoric would indicate, or else they are demonstrating that souls can be purchased for a sufficient amount of lucre.

Then we come to constitutional law. The schools said that, uh, we don't allow employers on campus who have hiring practices we dislike, and, uh, hmm, if we let the military come here with a practice we think objectionable, we, let's see, have somehow lost our free speech rights, and, oh yes, also our right of free association. Get it?

Well, no, the Supreme Court, didn't get it. It ruled unanimously against this nonsense that would only be proffered in a land where the law has become something you don't decipher logically, with deference to its majesty in human affairs, but manipulate in any convoluted way that suits your purposes of the moment.

The law in question has no effect at all on what the schools "may or may not say," said Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., explaining the obvious. If there is something about the military they don't like, the schools can denounce it all they want. Students and faculty can hold daily protests if they choose. Their speech remains free.

As for freedom of association, allowing "outsiders" to come on campus for a "limited purpose" is hardly the same as requiring an organization to accept someone as a member, Roberts pointed out. You wonder why he had to. There was no great mystery about what the Constitution says on either the free speech or free association issues, or what precedents imply.

So let's address the reality we all recognize. The law schools are overly much in the hands of leftists who do not apprehend what ordinary citizens apprehend about the military.

Citizens who are even halfway responsible and thoughtful - most adult Americans - appreciate that our nation's security depends on a splendidly professional, self-sacrificing military that puts itself on the line for the rest of us. As beneficiaries of one of the most remarkable societies in human history, most citizens know we should support this military, or, at the very least, do nothing to disable it.

Even those who don't like the foreign or internal policies of the moment mostly grasp that acting to deprive the military of needed recruits damages its prospects of future excellence and can cause additional risk for those currently serving. Average citizens can figure out as well that if you want military justice you can be proud of, the military needs to recruit top law students. Law school leftists just aren't interested in any of this.

Leftists, you see, are so wrapped up in their own self-important ideological fantasies that they fail to think seriously. While many of us can agree that the military's stance on homosexuals leaves room for intelligent opposition, we can simultaneously concede that it was a real-world compromise aimed at maintaining military effectiveness through keeping quiet on sexual orientation, not at rejecting applicants or expelling those who have something to contribute.

The left says let's just gum up everything with this one point in mind as a way of showing we are morally superior.

No, left-wingers, you are not morally superior. Your pretensions of being principled have been exposed in this case, along with your intellectual dishonesty.


Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.
He can be reached at SpeaktoJay(at)

Publish A Letter on SitNews
        Read Letters/Opinions
Submit A Letter to the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska