I have been asked by your paper to articulate my group’s reasons for protesting both the U.S. Military’s J.A.G. recruiting program and the Law School’s current entanglement with it. I am told that my position will be contrasted with the opposing viewpoint from, as you put it, a “conservative oriented Op-ed.” But as I search for articulable principles by which to construct a soapbox — principles that might place our soapbox on higher ground than those opposing our views — I find myself at a loss. The question I am supposed to answer, I suppose, is, “Why did a group of unaffiliated persons come together to protest these policies?” But the question that keeps coming to my mind is, “What else would we do?”
What else would we do?
But this is ultimately unsatisfying, isn’t it? And since I’m supposed to articulate a point of view that can be contrasted, rather than just my own opinion, I guess I should do that. I write this letter to you as one person in a group of students protesting the presence of J.A.G. recruiters on the Law School’s campus. The group is comprised of people who have varied views about what the worst part of having Military recruiters on campus is. We agree, however, that the U.S. Military’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is violative of Equal Protection and Due Process as well as other values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
Sadly, the courts have not seen it this way. As we saw last year in Rumsfeld v. F.A.I.R., and last month in Burt v. Gates, courts have held that Congress’ power to provide for the common defense, to raise an Army, and to maintain a Navy is sufficiently broad to allow it to demand access to on-campus recruiting, even if such recruiting discriminates against certain members of the student body. We don’t agree. We think that particular Constitutional protections offered by the First Amendment are more important than those the courts ultimately found persuasive. We are not alone in this view.But our disappointment with the military’s decision to effectively exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals from serving in the armed forces was never really a legal disappointment. Sure, we couch it in those terms because of our dissatisfaction with our Legislators. But it is the imposition of a bigoted policy onto our friends and our colleagues that we find problematic. To say that some of our citizens who want to work in the Armed Forces cannot disclose their sexual orientation for fear that it might “create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline” (10 U.S.C.