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Unanimous Supreme Court Upholds Solomon Amendment


March 6, 2006. By an 8-0 margin, the Supreme Court decided that Congress can give the military a statutory right to recruit prospective lawyers at law schools whose universities receive federal aid, grants or contracts. Rumsfeld v. FAIR, No. 04-1152.

The amicus brief filed by the dean and two professors at George Mason's law school was the only one submitted by a law school that took the side of the armed services. Many amicus briefs were filed on the losing side (including briefs in behalf of Yale University, Harvard University, Columbia University, New York University, the University of Chicago, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania), arguing that the Solomon Amendment's requirement of equal access for military recruiters was unconstitutional under the First Amendment. In addition, professors at Columbia and Harvard law schools submitted briefs arguing that as a matter of statutory construction the law schools had in fact complied with the Solomon Amendment. The constitutional and statutory arguments were all rejected by the Court.

The George Mason brief was signed by Dean Daniel Polsby and Professors Nelson Lund and Joseph Zengerle in behalf of six other George Mason professors, seven George Mason law students, and some eighty professors and students from other law schools. Lead counsel on the George Mason brief was Will Consovoy (’01), along with Andrew McBride, Seth Wood and Wiley, Rein & Fielding.

A unanimous constitutional opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court, written by the Chief Justice and uncompromised by any concurring opinion is the strongest possible American legal authority.

For information on George Mason's involvement in the Solomon Amendment litigation and related amicus brief, please contact Joseph Zengerle, Executive Director, Clinic for Legal Assistance to Servicemembers (jzengerl@gmu.edu).


Related Links:

Supreme Court Smackdown!, By Adam Liptak. The New York Times, March 12, 2006

U.S. Military: 8 Elite Law Schools: 0; How Did So Many Professors Misunderstand the Law?,by GMU Law Professor Peter Berkowitz, Weekly Standard, March 20, 2006

University Ban on Military Recruiters Rejected, by Guy Taylor, The Washington Times, March 7, 2006

Professor Joseph Zengerle Participates in Debate Over Solomon Amendment

Dean Daniel Polsby Debates Professor William Eskridge on Solomon Amendment

Brief Amicus Curiae of Law Professors and Law Students in Support of Petitioners, Rumsfeld v. F.A.I.R

Lacking the Wisdom of Solomon: Law Professors' Misguided Opposition to the Solomon Amendment, by GMU Law Professor Peter Berkowitz, National Review Online, December 5, 2005

Military on Campus Splits Law Faculties,The National Law Journal, 09-07-2005

Future of Campus Military Recruiting Hangs in Balance at High Court In: The Crimson, Sunday December 4, 2005 (Quoting Dean Polsby).