Military Recruiting and the Solomon Amendment: The Supreme Court Ruling in Rumsfeld v. FAIR


Publication Date: March 2006

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area: Military and defense



In recent years, many academic institutions have enacted rules that protect homosexuals from discrimination on campus. As a result, colleges, universities, and even high schools have sought to bar military recruiters from their campuses and/or to eliminate Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs on campus because of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the DOD policy excluding known or admitted homosexuals from military service. At the same time, federal legislation has been enacted to prevent the government from funding higher educational institutions that block military recruiters from campus. On March 6, 2006, the Supreme Court reversed a federal appeals court ruling in Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR). In so doing, eight Justices upheld the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment, which forbids most forms of federal aid to higher educational institutions that deny military recruiters access to students equal to that provided other employers.