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Third Circuit blocks enforcement of Solomon Amendment

[JURIST] A divided three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued an injunction Monday against the enforcement of the Solomon Amendment, a ten-year-old federal law which requires the United States Department of Defense to deny federal funding to institutions of higher education that prohibit military representatives access to students for recruiting purposes. The ruling came after a challenge was filed by a group of law professors and students under the rubric of the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR) who claimed the law violated university free speech rights and that the government had failed to offer any evidence that the law aided recruitment efforts. The amendment was objected to by many law schools because of the military's exclusion of gays and lesbians violated school policy about not giving access to employers who did not offer equal job opportunities as required by federal law. The Third Circuit decison is the first to decide on the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment and is likely to have a nationwide impact. The government may still appeal. FAIR provides documents relating to the case here. Read the Third Circuit opinion in FAIR v. Rumsfeld here [PDF]. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

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