Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stanford too good for JAG
Tom Smith

Stanford Law School faculty members are sending out to students who would interview with JAG recruiters what I can only characterize as an unbelievably obnoxious letter urging students to meet with recruiters off campus.  I should think a counter-measure (to use some Navy talk!) that would surely work would be a letter back from a student which said, thanks for your recent letter; in fact I prefer to meet with the JAG recruiters on campus, and if it even looks like this is being made inconvenient in any way, I will see if I can find a lawyer willing to represent me in a suit in federal court alleging that you are discriminating against me and my lawful efforts to get employed, and violating the Solomon Amendment.  The reaction to such a letter, I confidently predict, would most resemble the knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who say "Run Away! Run Away!"  It's one thing to sign a letter; it's another thing to explain to a federal judge why you shouldn't lose federal funding.  And of course, it is another thing entirely to put on a uniform and get shot at.

Did Stanford's office of general counsel approve this letter?  Whose brilliant idea was this?  Normally it's a good idea in a big university that gets hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, to run what is arguably a violation of federal law that could jeopardize that funding, by some cool headed lawyer type who can weigh the benefits of the proposed action (which in this case are -- what exactly?) against the risks (at least a small possibility of a really bad outcome, and the certainty of appearing ineffectual, self-impressed and sanctimonious).  But if so many law professors signed the letter, it must be legal, right?  I mean it; that was a serious question!  Stop laughing!

As a purely symbolic, but sincere gesture, I would like to offer my campus office, which is now quite a nice office, with a colorful if fake Native American rug, giant map of Idaho, not one but two pictures of Ronald Reagan, a map of Ireland, and several inspiring pictures of the mountains of the Himalaya, the Andes and Idaho, to any JAG recruiter who wants to use it to interview law students.  All I would ask in return would be, maybe a helicopter ride? Or a trip to a submarine or aircraft carrier?  Well, something like that or whatever.  A nice mug, maybe.

Another nice gesture would be a letter FedEx'ed to Stanford from the U.S. Department of Justice, asking for a detailed explanation of what is being done with respect to JAG recruiters, copies of the letters sent to students, a list of the students to whom they were sent, whether any JAG interviews were consequently moved off campus, and all the other interesting details, so that DOJ can determine whether any laws have been violated.  Letters like this have a way of focusing the sometimes distracted academic mind.

WELCOME Instapundit and Powerline readers.  But, oh, the indignity of it!  Tom Smith is my real name, for heaven's sake (not a pseudonym, as Steve on Powerline mistakenly notes).  What does a Smith have to do around here to get a little respect?

The problem has been fixed -- thanks, Scott.

NICE POINT here by Professor Bainbridge.  Steve's absolutely correct.  If hierarchy and status are latent with all kinds of subtle coercion, what are we to make of law professors "suggesting" to students that they not interview JAG on campus?  What about clerkship recommendations?  Let alone if somebody wants to be a law professor.

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Tom Smith


Given that professors (and I are one) can be incredibly idiots when it comes to their personal feelings, and given what lawyers are willing to do, it comes as no surprise that law professors could be the most incredibly idiotic of all.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie | Dec 5, 2007 3:12:47 PM

I interviewed with an Air Force JAG recruiter this fall in one of the dingy, lineoleum wrapped interview rooms in the basement of Warren Hall. If I had known it was an option, I would have certainly suggested your office!

Posted by: USD Law Student | Dec 5, 2007 6:27:30 PM

Professor Smith: I regret the error in referring to your name as a pseudonym. I have corrected my post. As one who has labored to make a common name distinctive, I extend my sincere apology.
Scott Johnson

Posted by: Scott Johnson | Dec 5, 2007 6:54:32 PM

More than one law school actively discourages military recruiting. This actually delights me, since it is so intellectually dishonest. Congress (Democratic Congress) passed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" which bill was signed into law by the President (Democratic President).

Shouldn't these law schools then ban politicians, government policy makers, Democrats from recruiting on campus?

I don't know... I just keep imagining Professor Kingfield rumbling at a student "Here is a quarter. Go call your life partner and tell him that you will never be a JAG."

Posted by: RFS | Dec 6, 2007 4:47:02 AM

Maybe they need something a bit more pointed to concentrate their minds. Perhaps Congress should amend the Solomon Amendment and say that any law school violating loses its accreditation? Or maybe that their graduates will be ineligible to apply for federal jobs (including DOJ and Federal Clerkship positions)? No doubt there are all kinds of employment law problems with that sort of proposal, but it seems like it's a good "goose for the gander" sort of thought...

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