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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 Court's decision closely follows the amicus brief filed by members of the George Mason law school community -- the only members of the national community of law schools to brief the case in behalf of the armed services. Many amicus briefs were filed on the losing side (including briefs in behalf of the professors at 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.

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.