Post Date: January 6, 2006

The amicus brief submitted by more than 40 members of the HLS faculty in the case Rumsfeld v. FAIR was recently named one of the best legal writings of 2005. The awards were presented by the legal publication Green Bag, and the HLS brief was one of two chosen under the category of briefs and motions.

The brief was written with input from the HLS professors by a team of attorneys under the direction of Walter Dellinger, former solicitor general from 1996-7 and the head of appellate practice at O’Melveny & Myers. It argues that law schools can limit the access of military recruiters and nonetheless be in compliance with the Solomon Amendment, a 1994 law allowing the government to block federal funds to universities that restrict military recruiters’ access to students.

The amicus filing says that the Solomon law, properly construed, requires only that the military be given the same access to students, on the same terms, given to other employers. Because the law school holds the military to the same requirement of nondiscrimination in hiring that it applies to all employers, the HLS professors argue, the school should be able to exclude military recruiters from its Office of Career Services without jeopardizing its federal funding.

The brief offers grounds quite different from those pressed by the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, the consortium of law schools and professors who filed a constitutional challenge to the Solomon law on grounds of academic freedom and free association. The amicus brief even points out some dangers in deciding the case on constitutional grounds.

The awards were chosen by a panel of advisors including sitting judges, scholars, practitioners and journalists, and the selections will be re-published in the upcoming 2005 Almanac of Exemplary Legal Writing. Click here to read more and download the brief.