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ASHCROFT STYLE ALLOWS FOCUS ON KEY ISSUES To the editor: Regarding ” John Ashcroft’s Inner Circle” [Oct. 13, 2003], Ashcroft’s management approach is understandable. A senior executive of a large entity can easily fail by having too many department heads report directly to him. Frequently he or she heads a select executive committee � an effective means to make strategic decisions and focus on critical issues. Previous AGs may not have had that management ability; most lawyers do not. I see little merit in the criticism of Ashcroft’s approach. Paul King McIntyre Harbin & King Washington, D.C. MILITARY ON CAMPUS: D.C. LAW A WEAPON To the editor: George Mason University School of Law professor Eugene Kontorovich objects to a lawsuit attacking the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment on ethical grounds [" Put Ethics on the Front Line," Sept. 22, 2003]. I write to suggest an alternative legal action to force D.C. law schools to limit their cooperation with military recruiters. The D.C. Human Rights Act prohibits universities from providing any assistance to recruiters for entities which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Its only exception is if federal law requires such assistance. But Solomon applies only if universities deny recruiters “entry” to campus or “access” to its students. The operative words are “prohibits, or in effect prevents.” The drafters deliberately did not use words like “impede,” “obstruct,” “hinder,” “thwart,” “inhibit,” “frustrate,” etc. Moreover, the statute certainly does not require, or even suggest, that military recruiters must be treated or accommodated in substantially the same way that other recruiters are. Indeed, the drafters deliberately chose not to use language saying exactly that, even though such language was found in a similar statute. In short, unless the law school “prohibits, or in effect prevents” military recruiters “from gaining entry to campuses, or access to students,” it complies with Solomon, and the noncooperation prohibitions in the Human Rights Act apply. Refusing to actively cooperate with military recruiters � e.g., by not collecting r�sum�s, not scheduling interviews, not posting notices of their availability, not providing interview rooms, etc. � does not deny or even effectively prevent military recruiters access. Therefore it would seem that when schools in D.C. go out of their way to cooperate by providing military recruiters with additional assistance beyond mere “access,” their action is illegal under the Human Rights Act. Thus, rather than having the difficult burden of trying to prove that a federal statute is unconstitutional, plaintiffs bringing an action under the Human Rights Act would have to show only that Solomon doesn’t require universities to actively assist and cooperate with military recruiters. Such a lawsuit, or even an administrative complaint, could easily persuade law schools in D.C. to stop actively cooperating with the military, and possibly set an example for law schools elsewhere. John F. Banzhaf III Professor of Public Interest Law George Washington University Law School Washington, D.C. REGULATION IS ONLY ANSWER FOR GUN CRISIS To the editor: Although the agreement Smith & Wesson struck with the Clinton administration to extricate itself from several pending and threatened lawsuits received widespread public attention, the gun company never actually agreed to do anymore to regulate the distribution of its firearms than it was already doing [" Blind Eye for the Killers," Oct. 3, 2003]. Most of the onus of the agreement fell on gun dealers who were not party to, nor could they be bound by, the agreement, and Smith & Wesson never took steps to implement the terms of the agreement through distribution contracts. Finally, once the Bush administration came into office, the agreement was abrogated. The Smith & Wesson lesson is that the biggest benefit of such voluntary initiatives is often nothing more than good PR for the corporation. The Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act, pending in Congress, would require the gun industry to comply with the same health and safety regulations as virtually all other products sold in America. The bill would give the Department of Justice consumer protection authority to regulate the design, manufacture, and distribution of firearms and ammunition. This legislation has the support of more than 120 organizations, including the American Bar Association and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The only way the gun industry will ever change its deadly manufacturing and marketing practices is if it is forced by federal regulation to do so. Susan Peschin Firearms Project Director Consumer Federation of America Washington, D.C.

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