Solomon Amendment Argument:

Sounds like it didn't go so well for the law schools in oral argument yesterday:

In the argument on Tuesday, the law school coalition's lawyer, E. Joshua Rosenkranz, had difficulty gaining traction as he urged the justices to uphold the appeals court's judgment that the Solomon Amendment amounted to "compelled speech" by forcing the law schools to convey the military's message. Chief Justice Roberts made his disagreement unmistakable.

"I'm sorry, but on 'compelled speech,' nobody thinks that this law school is speaking through those employers who come onto its campus for recruitment," the chief justice said. "Nobody thinks the law school believes everything that the employers are doing or saying."

The lawyer adjusted his focus. The law schools have their own message, "that they believe it is immoral to abet discrimination," he said.

This time, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor took issue. "But they can say that to every student who enters the room," she said.

"And when they do it, your honor, the answer of the students is, we don't believe you," Mr. Rosenkranz said.

"The reason they don't believe you is because you're willing to take the money," Chief Justice Roberts interjected. "What you're saying is this is a message we believe in strongly, but we don't believe in it to the detriment of $100 million."

Ouch. If you are keeping score at home, I think we can safely log the Chief's vote onto the government's side of the ledger. The Times story indicates that most of the other Justices were also fairly skeptical.

As you probably know, the Court has released the tapes of the oral argument in the case and they are available on C-Span. I, however, have been unable to get the C-Span link to work. I'm sure one of our more adept readers can explain what I'm doing wrong.


A Commenter reports on what to do if you are also having problems listening to the argument.