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Forum for Academic and Istitutional Rights, Inc. v. Rumsfeld

November 5, 2003


The opinion of the court was delivered by: John C. Lifland United States District Judge


Plaintiffs Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, Inc. ("FAIR"), Society of American Law Teachers, Inc. ("SALT"), The Coalition for Equality ("CFE"), Rutgers Gay and Lesbian Caucus ("RGLC"), law professors Erwin Chemerinsky and Sylvia Law (collectively, "Law Professors"), and law students Pam Nickisher, Leslie Fischer, Ph.D., and Michael Blauschild (collectively, "Law Students") seek a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the so-called Solomon Amendment-a statute conferring authority on the United States Secretary of Defense to deny federal funding to institutions of higher education that prohibit or effectively prevent on-campus military recruiting. Plaintiffs contend that the Solomon Amendment is unconstitutional because it (1) conditions a benefit-federal funding-on the surrendering of law schools' First Amendment rights of academic freedom, free speech, and freedom of expressive association; (2) discriminates on the basis of viewpoint by promoting only a pro-military recruiting message and by punishing only those schools that exclude the military because they find the military's policy against homosexual conduct morally objectionable; and (3) violates the void-for-vagueness doctrine for lack of clear guidelines and for conferring unbridled discretion on military bureaucrats to decide which institutions to target and what acts or omissions amount to non-compliance with the statute. Defendants (collectively, "the Government") move to strike or, in the alternative, to dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint for lack of standing, and otherwise oppose the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction on the basis that the Solomon Amendment is a valid exercise of the Spending Clause that conditions federal funding on conduct unrelated to speech.

As discussed more fully herein, the Government's Motion to Strike will be denied because Plaintiffs obtained express leave of Court to file a Second Amended Complaint. The Government's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint for Lack of Standing will be denied on the basis that the factual allegations are sufficient to confer standing on all associational and individual plaintiffs.

Finally, Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction will be denied on the basis that Plaintiffs have not established a likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional challenges to the Solomon Amendment. As with all constitutional challenges to legislation, the question is not whether the Court believes that the legislation is wise or unwise, or even fair or unfair. Those are value judgments which can and do vary from time to time, from person to person, and from issue to issue. The question is whether Congress, a co-equal branch of our government, has overstepped the boundaries prescribed, albeit in general terms, by our Constitution. Those boundaries have been made clearer by centuries of experience with case-by-case development of constitutional doctrines. Application of those doctrines, as explained in the cases cited, to the facts of this case, has led the Court to the conclusion that the compulsion exerted by the Solomon Amendment, as an exercise of Congress' spending power and its power and obligation to raise military forces, on balance, is not violative of the First Amendment rights of free speech, expressive association, and academic freedom where that compulsion operates primarily to compel or limit conduct, not speech or expression, and where, to the extent speech or expression is diluted, it can be readily and freely reconstituted, thus preserving the message for propagation by all who wish to express it and to all who may hear it.


Plaintiff FAIR, an association of law schools and law faculties, is a membership corporation organized under the laws of the State of New Jersey. Membership is open to law schools, other academic institutions, and faculties that vote by a majority to join. FAIR's stated mission is "to promote academic freedom, support educational institutions in opposing discrimination and vindicate the rights of institutions of higher education." (Second Amended Complaint ¶7(a) [hereinafter "Am. Compl."]). With few exceptions, FAIR membership is kept secret. (Am. Compl. ¶7(d)).

Plaintiff SALT is a New York corporation with nearly 900 law faculty members committed "to making the legal profession more inclusive and to extending the power of the law to underserved individuals and communities." (Am. Compl. ¶8). Plaintiff Erwin Chemerinsky is the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law School ("USC Law"), and Plaintiff Sylvia Law is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law, Medicine and Psychiatry at New York University Law School ("NYU Law"). Plaintiffs CFE, of Boston College Law School, and RGLC, of Rutgers University School of Law, (collectively, "Law Student Associations") are student organizations committed "to furthering the rights and interests of all groups including gays and lesbians." (Am. Compl. ¶ 9). Plaintiffs Pam Nickisher, Leslie Fischer, Ph.D., and Michael Blauschild are students at Rutgers University School of Law.

Defendant Donald Rumsfeld heads the Department of Defense ("DOD") in his capacity as the United States Secretary of Defense. The DOD is charged with implementing the Solomon Amendment and making the ultimate determination as to whether an institution is in compliance therewith. Defendant Rod Paige heads the Department of Education in his capacity as the United States Secretary of Education. Defendant Elaine Chao heads the Department of Labor in her capacity as the United States Secretary of Labor. Defendant Tommy Thompson heads the Department of Health and Human Services in his capacity as the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Defendant Norman Mineta heads the Department of Transportation in his capacity as the United States Secretary of Transportation. Defendant Tom Ridge heads the Department of Homeland Security as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security. The Departments collectively make available billions of dollars in the form of grants and federal contracts each year to institutions of higher education covered by the Solomon Amendment.


On Friday, September 19, 2003, Plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order ("TRO") and preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the Solomon Amendment. The Court denied Plaintiffs' request for a TRO at a hearing held the same day. At the hearing, the Assistant United States Attorney informed the Court of a Government shut down in the District of Columbia due to Hurricane Isabel. Given the Government's inability to respond to Plaintiffs' voluminous submissions-including an over-length brief and a three-inch thick bound volume of eighteen declarations-the Court set a briefing schedule.

The Government timely submitted a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Standing and Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction on Friday, September 26, 2003. Plaintiffs submitted a reply brief on Monday, September 29, 2003. During a telephone conference held later that day, the Court granted Plaintiffs' request to respond more fully to the Government's Motion to Dismiss and ordered both parties to further brief the impact on standing, if any, of FAIR's secret membership list.

The Court heard oral argument on Friday, October 10, 2003. At argument, counsel for Plaintiffs advised the Court that a First Amended Complaint had been filed earlier that morning. Counsel also indicated that he was prepared to file a Second Amended Complaint based on new information that a law school member of FAIR was willing to be publicly identified. The Court indicated that it would accept and direct the Clerk to file the Second Amended Complaint, subject to its verification. On October 15, 2003, Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint identifying two members of FAIR-Golden Gate University School of Law and the Faculty of Whittier Law School. (Am. Compl. ¶7(d)). By letters dated October 15 and 17, 2003, Plaintiffs informed the Court that NYU Law and the Faculty of Chicago-Kent University School of Law had also agreed to be publicly identified as members of FAIR.

On October 22, 2003, the Government moved to strike or, in the alternative, to dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint for lack of standing. Plaintiffs submitted a responsive brief the following day.


The facts are drawn largely from Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint and declarations submitted in connection with Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. At this juncture, the Government has not challenged or substantially supplemented Plaintiffs' factual assertions.

Solomon Amendment

The Solomon Amendment, in pertinent part, reads as follows:

(b) Denial of funds for preventing military recruiting on campus.-- No funds described in subsection (d)(2) may be provided by contract or by grant (including a grant of funds to be available for student aid) to an institution of higher education (including any subelement of such institution) if the Secretary of Defense determines that that institution (or any subelement of that institution) has a policy or practice (regardless of when implemented) that either prohibits, or in effect prevents--
(1) the Secretary of a military department or Secretary of Transportation from gaining entry to campuses, or access to students . . . on campuses, for purposes of military recruiting; or
(2) access by military recruiters for purposes of military recruiting to . . . information pertaining to students . . . enrolled at that institution (or any subelement of that institution).
10 U.S.C. § 983(b) (2003). Subsection (d)(2) identifies funds made available for the Departments of Defense and Transportation, as well as those in a Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. Id. § 983(d)(2). The Solomon Amendment also applies to funds from the Department of Homeland Security. Pub. L. No. 107-296, Title XVII, §§ 1704(b)(1),(g), 116 Stat. 2314, 2316 (2002).

A subelement of an institution is defined as "a discrete (although not necessarily autonomous) organizational entity that may establish policies or practices affecting military recruiting and related actions." 32 C.F.R. § 216.3(d). A law school is an example of a subelement. Id. Current DOD regulations provide that limitations on DOD funding apply to an offending subelement as well as its parent institution, whereas limitations on other federal funding apply only to the offending subelement. 32 C.F.R. § 216.3(b)(1) (stating that "limitations on the use of funds . . . shall apply only to the subelement and not to the parent institution as a whole"); 65 Fed. Reg. 2056 (Jan. 13, 2000) (prohibiting DOD from providing funds to institution of higher education and any subelement of same upon a determination that institution or any subelement prohibits or in effect prevents military recruiting on campus). Schools deemed ineligible for federal funding pursuant to the Solomon Amendment are identified in the Federal Register at least once every six months. 32 C.F.R. § 216.5(a)(4).

Not every school that denies the military recruiters access to its campus or to its students risks losing federal funding. The Solomon Amendment and the DOD regulations promulgated thereunder carve out various exceptions. The statute exempts schools that (1) have ceased an offending policy or practice or (2) have a longstanding, religious-based policy of pacifism. 10 U.S.C. § 983(c). The DOD regulations exempt schools that bar all employers from on-campus recruiting, and those able to demonstrate that "the degree of access by military recruiters is at least equal in quality and scope to that afforded to other employers." 32 C.F.R. § 216.4(c)(3). Also exempted are schools at which student interest does not justify accommodating military recruiters. Id. § 216.4(c)(6)(ii). There are also exemptions pertaining to the requirement in Section 983(b)(2) that schools provide the military with student recruiting information. 32 C.F.R. § 216.4(c)(4)-(5). *fn1

History of the Solomon Amendment

A policy of discouraging barriers to on-campus military recruitment pre-dates the 1994 passage of the Solomon Amendment by nearly thirty years. United States v. City of Philadelphia, 798 F.2d 81, 86 (3d Cir. 1986). Congress enacted legislation in the 1960s and 1970s that, much like the Solomon Amendment, authorized the withholding of defense funds from schools that maintained a policy barring military recruiters or otherwise eliminated the Reserve Officers Training Corps program. Id. (citing Department of Defense Authorization Act of 1973, Pub. L. No. 92-436, § 606(a), 86 Stat. 734, 740 (1972) [hereinafter "the DDA of 1973"]; Department of Defense Authorization Act of 1971, Pub. L. No. 91-441, § 510, 84 Stat. 905 (1970); National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 1969, Pub. L. No. 90-373, § 1(h), 82 Stat. 280, 281-82 (1968); 118 Cong. Rec. 22,346 (1972)). Section 606(a) of the DDA of 1973, for example, provided that

[n]o part of the funds appropriated pursuant to this or any other Act for the Department of Defense or any of the Armed Forces may be used at any institution of higher learning if the Secretary of Defense or his designee determines that recruiting personnel of any of the Armed Forces of the United States are being barred by the policy of such institution from the premises of the institution . . . .
DDA of 1973, Pub. L. No. 92-436, § 606(a), 86 Stat. 734, 740 (1972).

The apparent impetus for the Solomon Amendment was the continued refusal of many educational institutions to allow the military to engage in on-campus recruiting. *fn2 The original version of the statute denied federal funding "to any institution of higher education that has a policy of denying, or which effectively prevents, the Secretary of Defense from obtaining for military recruiting purposes (A) entry to campuses or access to students on campuses; or (B) access to directory information pertaining to students." National Defense Authorization Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 103-337, § 558, 108 Stat. 2663 (1994). Targeted funds included only those administered by the DOD and only those flowing to the particular school, or subelement, that declined to allow the military to recruit on campus. Id.; 61 Fed. Reg. 7739 (Feb. 29, 1996). Thus, for example, a law school that did not permit on-campus military recruiting risked only DOD funds allocated for the law school itself, and not funds flowing to its parent university.

As of 1997, the Solomon Amendment more broadly provided that any "covered education entity" that prevented access by military recruiters to campuses, students, or student information risked not only DOD funding, but all funds available from the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and any related agency. Targeted funding also included "any grant of funds to be available for student aid." Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997, Pub. L. No. 104-208, § 514(b), 110 Stat. 3009-270 (1996) (formerly 10 U.S.C. § 503), repealed by Pub. L. No. 106-65, 113 Stat. 512 (1999). The DOD continued to interpret the statute to mean that only a school's subelement that violated the Solomon Amendment risked losing federal funding. 63 Fed. Reg. 56,819 (stating that non-compliance of "only a subelement of a parent institution" implicated funding "only to the subelement and not to the parent institution as a whole").

In January 1998, the Department of Education ("DOE") clarified the effect of the Solomon Amendment on programs of student financial assistance under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. 63 Fed. Reg. 56,821 (Oct. 23, 1998). The DOE explained that the Solomon Amendment applied only to "campus based" student aid programs for which the educational institutions (not the students) applied and were awarded funding. Such programs included the Federal Perkins Loan, the Federal Work-Study, and the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant programs. Id. Direct student aid programs-funds made directly available to students (e.g., Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Family Education Loan, and the Federal Direct Loan programs)-remained outside the scope of the statute. In 1999, the Frank-Campbell Amendment expressly removed from the scope of the Solomon Amendment "any Federal grant of funds to an institution of higher education to be available solely for student financial assistance or related administrative costs." Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2000, § 8120, Pub. L. No. 106-79, 113 Stat. 1260 (1999).

In 2000, the DOD amended its regulations to eliminate the subelement limitation as to DOD funds. 65 Fed. Reg. 2056 (Jan. 13, 2000). The subelement limitation remained in effect as to funds from other federal agencies. See 32 C.F.R. § 216. Thus, a non-compliant law school risked DOD funds flowing to both the law school and its parent university, as well as other federal funding flowing to the law school (but not to the parent institution).

Law School Non-Discrimination Policies

Law schools have determined that diversity among their faculty and students is essential to their core mission of "train[ing] the next generation of leaders to pursue justice, respect the rule of law, and stand by principle." (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 19-21) ("[L]aw schools have promoted, demanded, and strictly enforced, not merely diversity, but also tolerance and respect."). Nearly every accredited American law school has adopted policies against discrimination on the basis of categories such as national origin, religion, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, parental status, veteran status, physical disability, age, and sexual orientation. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 21-22). Law schools admit students, award scholarships, hire and promote faculty, and hire staff consistent with their non-discrimination policies. (Am. Compl. ¶23). A typical law school non-discrimination policy states:

[The Law School] is committed to a policy against discrimination based upon age, color, handicap or disability, ethnic or national origin, race, religion, religious creed, gender (including discrimination taking the form of sexual harassment), marital, parental or veteran status, or sexual orientation.
(Am. Compl. ¶ 22). The trend of including sexual orientation as a protected category in non-discrimination policies began in the late 1970s. NYU Law was the first school to do so, and others followed its lead. (Rosenkranz Decl. ¶10).

As corollaries to their non-discrimination policies, law schools adhere to recruiting policies whereby they refuse to offer school resources, support, or endorsement to any employer that discriminates based on protected categories. (Am. Compl. ¶ 23). The recruitment policies are applied even-handedly to all employers. (Am. Compl. ¶26). The policies, in the law schools' judgment, serve both pedagogical and instrumental purposes by teaching values students would not otherwise learn from case books and by fostering an environment of free and open discourse. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 24-25). The policies neither prevent discriminating employers from contacting students, nor steer students away from such employers. While students remain free to seek jobs with employers that discriminate, including the military, they must do so without school support or resources. (Am. Compl. ¶ 26).

The AALS Position

The Association of American Law Schools ("AALS") is a non-profit association of law schools committed to improving the legal profession through legal education. It functions "as the learned society for law teachers and is legal education's principal representative to the federal government and to other national higher education organizations and learned societies." American Association of Law Schools, What is the AALS? at In 1990, the AALS voted to include sexual orientation as a protected category in law school non-discrimination policies. (Rosenkranz Decl. ¶10). Accordingly, all of the more than 160 member law schools of the AALS extended their non-discrimination policies to cover sexual orientation. (Id.).

Section 6-4 of the By-Laws of the AALS requires member schools to, among other things, provide "students and graduates with equal opportunity to obtain employment, without discrimination or segregation" on the basis of sexual orientation and other protected categories. (Rosenkranz Decl. ¶10, Ex. 1). Schools must communicate to employers their "firm expectation" that the employers will observe the principle of equal opportunity. (Id.). Employers seeking to utilize member law school career services must provide written assurance that they will not discriminate on the basis of protected categories; the schools refuse to assist any employer that declines to so certify. (Rosenkranz Decl. ¶7).

The AALS has recognized the tension between its By-Laws requiring non-discrimination and the Solomon Amendment: "[T]he Amendment . . . places most law schools in the difficult position of either foregoing financial aid funds that are critical to their students or receiving the financial aid funds but failing to provide an environment that adequately protects its students from the experience of discrimination." (Rosenkranz Decl. ¶10, Ex. 3). In apparent resolution of that tension, the AALS has suggested "ameliorative" measures to be taken by law schools that choose to permit on-campus military recruiting so that those schools may be deemed compliant with the By-Laws:

[E]ach school should assure that all its students, as well as others in the law school community, are informed each year that the military discriminates on a basis not permitted by the school's nondiscrimination rules and the AALS bylaws and that the military is being permitted to interview only because of the loss of funds that would otherwise be imposed under the Solomon Amendment (or, in appropriate cases, because of higher university directives that compel the law school to permit access). Other ameliorative acts that schools might consider include forums or panels for the discussion of the military policy or for the discussion of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Although no specific type of amelioration is required, the Executive Committee will examine the actions schools take in the context of the totality of the school's efforts to support [a] hospitable environment for its students. In assessing that environment, the Association will consider, among other things, the presence of an active lesbian and gay student organization and the presence of openly lesbian and gay faculty and staff.

Law School Compliance with the Solomon Amendment

Law schools are loathe to endorse or assist recruiting efforts of the United States military because of its policy against homosexual activity. *fn3 Law school administration, faculty, and students have openly expressed their disapproval with the military's policy in a variety of ways. Some law schools, for example, have posted ameliorative statements throughout the school advising that the military does not comply with the school's non-discrimination policies. (Appleton Decl. ¶ 18, Ex. 9; Law Decl. ¶ 22). Law faculty and student bar resolutions also have condemned the military's policy and, correspondingly, expressed support of non-discrimination policies. (Appleton Decl. ¶¶ 14, 16; Law Decl. ¶¶ 22-23). In addition, students and faculty have held demonstrations protesting on-campus military recruiting. (Appleton Decl. ¶ 19; Gerken Decl. ¶¶24-28; Law Decl. ¶ 35, Smolik Decl. ¶2; Sweeney Decl. ¶11).

Law schools have attempted to comply with the Solomon Amendment, notwithstanding the military's discriminatory policy. While some law schools denied military access to campus, others developed ways to adhere to their respective non-discrimination policies and still permit the military access to interested students. (Am. Compl. ¶¶7(j),(k)). Some law schools permitted the military to recruit on campus, but refused to schedule student interviews. (Id. ¶7(k)). Other law schools allowed military recruiters to use university facilities, but not law school facilities. (Id.). Many refused to let military recruiters participate in school-sponsored job fairs. (Id.). Still other schools refused to match students with recruiters or post military literature. (Id. ¶ 34). One law school, for example, allowed military recruiters on campus, but kept military recruiting literature separate from its career services office and arranged interviews through the dean's office. (Rosenkranz Decl. ¶ 19).

On occasion, the military has expressed satisfaction with the law schools' efforts to accommodate military recruiters. For instance, a 1998 letter from the Department of the Army thanked USC Law's career services office "for providing . . . military recruiters a degree of access to students that is equal in quality and scope to that afforded other employers, consistent with the regulations . . . ." (Chemerinsky Decl. ¶ 19). Another 1998 letter from the Department of the Army thanked NYU Law for its efforts in notifying students about a military recruiter's scheduled trip to the New York area. (Law Decl. ¶ 16; Ex. 6). That same letter signaled an abundance of recruits, stating that "[c]ompetition has become very keen in the past few years for . . . JAG attorney positions" and that, as a result, "some very qualified applicants will not be selected for a position." (Id.).

However, in or about 2001, the military began to express dissatisfaction with the law schools. The DOD and officers of various branches of the military notified various schools that they were not in compliance with the Solomon Amendment. Plaintiffs have submitted detailed declarations recounting Solomon Amendment stories from at least nine different law schools. In general, Plaintiffs allege that the DOD threatened law schools with the loss of not only DOD funding, but all federal funding, if the schools did not afford the military full access to career services, the students, and the law schools. (Am. Compl. ¶36; Chemerinsky Decl. ¶ 21; Gerken Decl. ¶ 16). Plaintiffs further allege that, despite written requests from various law schools, the DOD failed to offer specific guidance as to what the military requires of the law schools in order to be deemed compliant with the Solomon Amendment (Am. Compl. ¶37; Rosenkranz Decl. ¶22; Eskridge Decl. ¶¶39-55), and replied simply by way of notification that the schools remained in default (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 7(m), 37).

Solomon Amendment stories from Yale Law School and USC Law *fn4 are illustrative of the DOD's current stance. Yale Law School consistently permitted military recruiters on campus to meet students in response to expressed student interest, and provided military recruiters access to student directory information. (Eskridge Decl. ¶¶37, 40). But the school-sponsored off-campus interview programs were only open to employers that complied with the school's non-discrimination policy. (Eskridge Decl. ¶40). By letter dated May 29, 2002, United States Army Colonel Tate notified Yale that the Law School was non-compliant with the Solomon Amendment insofar as it (1) maintained a policy that limited military recruiting; (2) did not provide the military access to law school-sponsored interviewing programs; and (3) did not permit the military to recruit on campus unless invited on by a law student or law student organization. (Eskridge Decl. ¶41, Ex. 10). The letter threatened funding denial unless, by July 1, 2002, the Army received information that the law school had modified its policies to conform to federal requirements. (Id.). By letter dated May 29, 2003, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense William Carr notified Yale that allowing military recruiters to use law school facilities, but not the career development office, violated the Solomon Amendment because the DOD had interpreted the statute "to require universities to provide military recruiters access to students equal in quality and scope to that provided to other recruiters." (Eskridge Decl. ¶55; Ex. 18). According to Mr. Carr, not allowing the military access to the law school's career development services would "impose substantial burdens and restrictions . . . to schedule interviews with students through e-mail or other means, rather than through the standard processes provided . . . to other employers." (Id.).

USC Law encountered a similar situation. By letter dated December 17, 2001, United States Air Force Colonel Daniel B. Fincher wrote to the President of USC requesting clarification of the Law School's policies concerning military recruitment. USC's General Counsel responded by explaining the school's policy exception for military recruiters. (Eskridge Decl. ¶ 20; Ex. 6). Under the policy exception, the law school (1) provided military recruiters with standard employer information and materials; (2) referred the military recruiter to on-campus ROTC offices for scheduling of interview space; (3) posted a notice in the school's weekly career services newsletter indicating the scheduled recruiter visit; (4) provided students with information about how to apply for an interview with the military; and (5) made available military recruitment materials to all students. On May 30, 2002, Colonel Fincher notified USC that the Law School's policy did not conform to the Solomon Amendment and to do so USC must "allow[] the military full access to the services of the Career Services Office, the students, and the law school." (Chemerinsky Decl. ¶¶20-21).

Recruitment Seasons

Most law schools host employers in the fall and spring. (Am Compl. ¶41). At the close of fall recruiting season, law school career services personnel begin collecting and disseminating literature, making arrangements, and organizing appointments for employers who will be arriving in the spring. (Id.). The same is true for spring recruitment season. Thus, preparation for upcoming recruitment seasons occurs year round. (Id.). As of the fall 2003 recruiting season, every law school in the nation that receives federal funds has suspended permanently their non-discrimination policies as applied to military recruiters. (Am. Compl. ¶40).


The Government moves to strike Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), which states that a party may amend a pleading once as a matter of right and thereafter "only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party." The Government contends that Plaintiffs failed to obtain express leave of court or written consent to file the Second Amended Complaint. To the contrary, the Court granted Plaintiffs leave to file the Second Amended Complaint at oral argument. (Tr. at 68:5-8) ("I will accept and direct the clerk to file your [Second] amended complaint . . . ."). The Motion to Strike Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint will be denied.


I. Standard of Review

A party may challenge the court's jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), either by attacking the allegations on the face of the complaint, or the facts supporting the allegations. Carpet Group Int'l v. Oriental Rug Imp. Ass'n, 227 F.3d 62, 69 (3d Cir. 2000); Mortensen v. First Fed. Savings & Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977). Where, as here, a party challenges the court's subject matter jurisdiction on the pleadings, the court "must assume that the allegations contained in the complaint are true." Cardio-Med. Assocs. Ltd. v. Crozer-Chester Med. Ctr., 721 F.2d 68, 75 (3d Cir. 1983). The court's evaluation is thus similar to the analysis used in evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Mortensen, 549 F.2d at 891; Cohen v. Kurtzman, 45 F. Supp. 2d 423, 428 (D.N.J. 1999).

II. Analysis

Article III, §2 of the United States Constitution "extends the `judicial Power' of the United States only to `Cases' and `Controversies.'" Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 523 U.S. 83, 102 (1998). Standing is "an essential and unchanging part of the case-or-controversy requirement." Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). To satisfy the "case or controversy" requirement for standing a plaintiff must demonstrate that it has suffered (1) an injury-in-fact (2) caused by the conduct complained of, and (3) that such injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision. Id.; Pennsylvania Psychiatric Soc'y v. Green Spring Health Servs., Inc., 280 F.3d 278, 283 (3d Cir. 2002). An injury-in-fact is defined as "an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) `actual or imminent, not conjectural and hypothetical.'" Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560 (citations and internal quotations omitted). The causal connection required is that the injury be "fairly traceable" to the challenged conduct. Id. (quoting Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26 (1976)).

Standing is also subject to certain prudential limitations that reflect the need for judicial restraint. One such limitation is that a plaintiff typically must assert his own legal rights and cannot rest his claim on third-party interests. Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975). However, an exception to that rule is that "[e]ven in the absence of injury to itself, an association may have standing solely as the representative of its members." Id. at 511. Whether an association has standing to sue on behalf of some or all of its members depends on whether

(a) its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; (b) the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization's purpose; and (c) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit.
Hunt v. Washington State Apple Adver. Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 343 (1977).

Standing, be it individual or associational, goes to whether a litigant is entitled to have a court decide a particular case. "It is the responsibility of the complainant clearly to allege facts demonstrating that he is a proper party to invoke judicial resolution of the dispute and the exercise of the court's remedial powers." Warth, 422 U.S. at 518. That inquiry is "especially rigorous" where, as here, "reaching the merits of a dispute would force [the Court] to decide whether an action taken by one of the other two branches of the Federal Government was unconstitutional." Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 819-20 (1997).


The Government argues that any threat of injury from enforcement of the Solomon Amendment would be to law schools, whose involvement as unidentified members of FAIR is insufficient to satisfy the associational standing requirement that one or more members has standing in their own right. The Government further argues that merely naming law school members of FAIR is insufficient to demonstrate standing where (1) none of the factual allegations demonstrate that the law schools, as part of larger parent universities, are entitled to bring suit on their own behalf and potentially against the wishes of the parent institution; (2) the parent institutions, not the law schools, have standing in their own right insofar as they make the ultimate decision to comply with the Solomon Amendment and stand to suffer a denial of funding pursuant thereto; and (3) law schools violate the prudential rule against third-party standing by resting their claims on the legal rights of their parent universities that are not involved in this suit. Lastly, the Government contends that FAIR does not satisfy the requirements for associational standing insofar as the as-applied challenge to the Solomon Amendment demands participation of individual members in the lawsuit.

The Court will first analyze whether FAIR members have standing in their own right.

See Hunt, 432 U.S. at 343. FAIR members include law schools and law faculties that collectively voted to join FAIR. *fn6 (Am. Compl. ¶7). The Second Amended Complaint describes the alleged harm to FAIR members as follows:

Every member of FAIR has autonomy to develop policies directed at enhancing its academic atmosphere and safeguarding its ability to recruit and retain diverse students. Every member of FAIR exercised that autonomy to adopt a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of, among other categories, sexual orientation. Every member of FAIR requires those employers who seek to use the law schools' career placement offices, facilities and resources to abide by these non-discrimination policies. Every member of FAIR applies these non-discrimination policies to all employers, and has declined to make an exception for military recruiters. As a direct result of the Solomon Amendment, or the DOD's interpretation and application of the Solomon Amendment, every FAIR member has entirely suspended the application of its non- discrimination policy to military recruiters, including any symbolic gestures to signal its adherence to non- discrimination. Every member of FAIR believes that the suspension of its non-discrimination policy has compromised the message of non-discrimination that FAIR members previously sent to their communities and has undermined its efforts to provide its students and faculty with an atmosphere conducive to the free exchange of ideas.
(Am. Compl. ¶7(d)).

Taking Plaintiffs' allegations to be true, as the Court must, FAIR has satisfied its burden to demonstrate that it has law school members who have abandoned their non-discrimination policies due to threatened enforcement of the Solomon Amendment. The Solomon Amendment plainly affects law schools; the Government concedes that any threatened injury from the statute would be to law schools. (Gov't Opp'n Prelim. Inj. at 11). FAIR alleges that its law school members' First Amendment rights have been violated by virtue of having to compromise their message of non-discrimination due to the Solomon Amendment. Thus, FAIR members have alleged a concrete injury fairly traceable to the Solomon Amendment that is likely to be redressed were enforcement of the statute enjoined. See Warth, 422 U.S. at 501-02; Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560-61.

It is true that FAIR members have not as of yet suffered an actual loss of funding pursuant to enforcement of the Solomon Amendment. But law school members of FAIR have a sufficient stake in this controversy insofar as the allegations demonstrate that the schools have capitulated to government threats of losing federal funding due to non-compliance with the Solomon Amendment. The relevant injury for standing purposes is the government-induced ...

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