Pentagon Wins Reversal of Court Decision on Military Recruiting at Yale U.

September 19, 2007

A federal appeals court sided this week with the Defense Department in another case involving military recruiting on college campuses. The decision, a unanimous ruling by a two-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, came a year and a half after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld a law, known as the Solomon amendment, that allows the federal government to withhold funds from colleges that limit military recruiting.

The case decided on Monday pitted the Defense Department against some 50 professors at the Yale Law School, which has restricted military recruiting since 2005, when the U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Conn., found that Yale had a First Amendment right to exclude recruiters whose hiring policies contravened campus codes barring discrimination against gay people. The appeals-court decision, which reversed that ruling, in accord with the Supreme Court’s ruling last year, means that Yale will have to either lift its restrictions on military recruiting or forfeit millions of dollars in federal funds.

The university prepared today to take the former course of action, the Associated Press reported. “The fact is we have been forced under enormous pressure to acquiescence in a policy that we believe is deeply offensive and harmful to our students,” said Robert Burt, a professor who was the lead plaintiff in the case. —Kelly Field