Solomon Amendment

SOLOMON AMENDMENT….The Solomon Amendment, originally passed in 1996, allows the government to deny federal funding to universities if they prevent either ROTC or the military from recruiting on campus. Several law schools challenged the law, saying it infringed their First Amendment right to refuse association with organizations that discriminate against gays, and today the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the government.

Prof. Bainbridge explains that the key issue is the “unconstitutional conditions doctrine,” which means that a law denying funding unless you do X is constitutional if Congress could just mandate X in the first place. That makes sense to me, although I’m a little surprised to learn that Congress could indeed have simply mandated access to military recruiters if it wanted to. Under that doctrine, could newspapers be required to accept advertising for military recruitment even if they didn’t want to?

But that’s not what I’m really curious about. What I’m curious about is this: if Congress could have simply forced universities to provide access to military recruiters, why didn’t they do it? Why bother with all the federal funding cutoff folderol? Seems pretty inefficient, no?