f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

November 30, 2004

Bashman on Harvard Law & Free Speech

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:49 pm

speaking truth
the rainy season’s crack
of thunder

                       Kobayashi ISSA,

                       translated by D. Lanoue

This Harvard Law School graduate (HLS ’76) would like to join Howard Bashman’s reminder to my

alma mater that free speech often comes at a cost — as does sticking to one’s principles.  Howard

responds to news that HLS plans to start barring military recruiters, in the wake of  the 3rd Circuit’s

decision yesterday overturning the Solomon Amendment. 


Rather than losing federal funding, Harvard Law School has been allowing military recruiters on campus,

despite the anti-gay policies of the military.  As Howard points out, in words worth quoting in full:

don't forget tack “Harvard Law School at all times (including now) has had the right to ban

military recruiters from campus notwithstanding the existence of the Solomon Amendment

— the university simply had to pay the price in loss of federal funding.   Dean Kagan’s statement

suggests that now that the price to be paid will soon be zero dollars, Harvard Law School can

afford to exercise its right of association in the manner it prefers. On this very point, to the extent

that the Solomon Amendment causes a law school to “speak” in any manner, it seems to me

that a law school is forced to reveal that it finds the continuation of federal funding to have

a greater value than the evenhanded application of the school’s anti-discrimination policy.

This ‘speech’ — which reveals that the exercise of rights sometimes comes at great cost; even

at a cost that may be too great to bear — would seem to teach law students a valuable lesson

about how the real world often operates.”  (emphasis added)

If Harvard Law School can’t afford to give up federal dollars in order to take a principled stand, who can?

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