Monday, March 06, 2006

I am impressed by Chief Justice Roberts

It is a tribute to his leadership abilities that he got a unanimous decision (8-0, as Alito did not participate in the decision, being too new) on the Solomon Amendment case. That is the case where liberal law professors tried to argue that it was a violation of the First Amendment to require law schools accepting federal funds to admit military recruiters on campus.

That argument never quite made sense to me. I guess they thought merely allowing recruiters from a group they didn't like somehow suggested they were "endorsing" their views, but that was always a nonsense argument, factually ridiculous, that the law professors used as a foothold to get their desired result - kick the military off campuses so their impressionable students would never be reminded that it's a dangerous world out there and not the liberals' fantasy land.

But I digress. The opinion is notable in that the basis for the decision is precisely what John Eastman and the Claremont Institute argued in their amicus brief - under Article 1, section 8, of the Constitution, Congress' power to create a navy and army allows Congress to mandate law schools give access to military recruiters directly without even dangling the carrot of federal funds. This avoided a potentially dangerous decision on whether the federal government could condition the receipt of federal funds on states enacting laws, or other groups doing certain things, that the feds could not legislate directly.

John Eastment rightly crows a bit.


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