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Well, That's Predictable

One more spam email, this one from the Student Senate, announcing a thoroughly predictable open meeting opposing the Solomon Amendment. We're going to pass (yawn) another resolution stating that we as law students object to legislation requiring us to allow the military to interview on campus.

I know, you're shocked, right? (Anyone betting against the passage of the resolution is advised to get very long odds.)

Suffice it to say that I will be spending my time not at the meeting (Thursday, March 10, 12:30 in JG 106) but having lunch, quite possibly a beer, and ignoring yet another piece of moral posturing by an elite group spouting off about their feelings of "academic freedom" being injured. The articles of the resolution are thoroughly uninspiring:

6. Recommend that the Administration supplement the asterisked note attached to Career Services e-mails and the posted flyers outside J.A.G. interview rooms with more effective means of ensuring the Students' accurate understanding of the issue based on current and future events.

(emphasis added) This makes CLS students sound rather thick, to be honest. We're already bludgeoned by information about this: does the Senate really think that the message just isn't getting through? Sure, the ALL CAPS EMAILS and the big blustery signs serve as wonderful bits of conformist intimidation ("Look: she just went into the JAG room! How dare she!") but I can't imagine supposedly intelligent law students need more to be put on notice. If one has gotten all the way to interviewing for JAG without hearing about the Solomon Amendment, one really shouldn't be hired by the JAG or anyone else (and should probably be checked for functioning vital signs).

The resolution is nothing but moral posturing. If this is really such a moral outrage, the Law School (and the Student Senate) are perfectly free to tell JAG never to darken their doors. Yes, they'd have to give away a lot of yummy federal money, but this is a moral issue, right? Certainly if we really think this, we should have the balls to turn away tainted cash.

Otherwise, if the University is going to take the King's shilling, it shouldn't be surprised when it gets dragooned [1]. In the meantime, I have enough trust in my fellow students to think that they can make their own moral judgments about the appropriateness of interviewing with JAG on campus without collective lecturing from the Student Senate, the administration, or anyone else. We are all supposed to be adults here, not high school juniors.

I'm all for politely asking those who wish to interview with JAG to interview elsewhere. After all, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is offensive to some of my classmates, and as a matter of comity a polite request should be met with a polite reply. Presumably we could act as gentlemen. But comity cuts both ways: those who do want to interview with JAG shouldn't be beaten over the head with warnings more appropriate for tobacco cartons, nor do they deserve moral lectures from a self-satisfied majority. [2] This resolution isn't about comity, it isn't a polite request, and its language does nothing to suggest that those who disagree with it should respond with any good will in turn.

[1]: Since one of my commentators objects whenever I use a word like this, I mean dragoon in this sense: "To exact free quarters from."

[2]: Imagine if NARAL, when they decided to interview on campus, were to have a big sign placed outside their door saying, "THESE INDIVIDUALS HAVE SUPPORTED THE DESTRUCTION OF XXX MILLION FETUSES LAST YEAR," maybe with some tasteful display of a fetus. Appetites for moral lecturing on employers generally depends entirely on whose axe ox is being gored [3].

[3]: Update... "axe being gored?" Slip of the tongue combination of "whose ox is being gored" and "who has an axe to grind." One more reason why friends shouldn't let friends blog on cough medication.


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For the record, the resolution did not pass the first "vote to vote on the resolution," because that requires 2/3 and it got something like 16 for, 11 against. Then the language was amended to include a statement of support for the military, the two requests for roll call were ignored as "rude" because people needed to leave soon, the vote to vote passed and the resolution passed in the last 45 seconds before everyone went to class. Isn't a Senate supposed to be a deliberative body? I thought stuff like this only happened in the House. Not that I have any of my own axes to grind... but I'm slightly tempted to run for Student Senate on a Freak Power ticket.
I couldn't agree more. I came to law schol after having spent four years as a military officer and I am astounded on a pretty regular basis in regard to the general level of ignorance among my classmates on the subject of "the military"...what it does, what it means to be in it, etc. People have said the craziest things to me, everything from being surprised that I am at this school because they thought only dumb people who couldn't get jobs joined the military, to people basically telling me that they can't respect anyone who would do the things I did while I was in (one of which was separating people under the don't ask/don't tell policy). I was also asked, point blank, during a job interview "So, you were in the military...do you think there's any chance you could be objective working with a diverse group of people?" This is presumably *after* my resume was screened and I was selected for the interview by THEM! Anyway, this comment got way off track, sorry.
Hey! I only object when I don't know what the word means! Uh, although, I thought it meant to impress into military service involuntarily. Er, without... no, hangon, to impress without volition... of the impress-ee... shoot. You know what I mean. Anyway, the free room-and-board meaning was new to me.
That said, can you really not see the other side's point? While I agree that it's probably more public piousness than anything else, I disagree that the piousness is on the level you identify. Rather, I think the law school has made the (at least reasonable) call that it will provide interviewing facilities only with employers that follow a non-discrimination hiring policy. That is a general policy of the law school. What makes the Solomon amendment objectionable is 1) its specific overruling of all such targets for one employer; and 2) the vast disproportionality of its sanction. So I don't think the smug morality is on the level of objecting to JAG. Rather, I think it's in selecting the value (non-discrimination) that will be so preferred, to the limitation of employer's free-association rights[1]. And judged on that level, it's hardly so objectionable, is it? That is, it's possible to disagree with the amendment without at all disapproving of JAG, or in thinking non-discrimination is the most important value that law schools should encourage in legal employers. (Not to say that many of the amendment's opponents won't hold exactly those views, and of course they're likely to be the most vocal.) [1] That's in the freedom-of-association sense, nothing to do with Robin Williams's schtick.
TtP: First of all, the military isn't an "ordinary" employer. Military service isn't the same as getting a job in a white-shoe firm or even some other form of public interest. The "one such employer" is the military, which is an exception in many other ways. As for whether the objection is to JAG or to a policy of discrimination, certainly the signs, emails, and various notices that show up around here don't give me that impression.
Well, objections to process are never going to get people as riled up as those about outcome. I can't take responsibility for what the emailers said; I only think that it doesn't warrant a global objection. And people are perfectly free to have opinions about the military that we find reprehensible. But the military, while being unique, is hardly unique in being unique; Cravath, say, is unlike all other employers, or the Senate Judiciary committee, or NAACP-LDEF. Forcing the exception for a single employer from a general non-discrimination policy with the threatened withdrawal of _all_ a university's funding seems a little gangsta, and in the absence of some very compelling reasoning about how, exactly, the military is different from other employers, I fail to see why people's objections should be dismissed. Is all I'm saying. TtP

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