US law schools ban army recruiters from campus

US law schools have become embroiled in a row with the US Justice Department over army recruiters on their campuses.

Congress is in a position to withhold millions of dollars of scholarship and research grants under a federal law known as the Solomon Agreement, designed to punish schools which deny access to Defence Department interviewers.

At issue is the Defence Departments refusal to sign assurances that, as a prospective employer, it does not discriminate on grounds of race, gender or sexual orientation. The law schools require all potential employers to sign these before recruiting on campus.

In December, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the Pentagon from exercising the Solomon Agreement, saying that it was unconstitutional. But this dispute has been running for a decade and the law schools are uncertain of the Pentagons next move.

A group of professors, 25 law schools and civil rights groups under the guise of the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights challenged Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The law schools claim that the Pentagon has increased its efforts to station recruiters on campus following 11 September 2001.