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AD RULING HURTS LAW SCHOOL CASE To the editor: The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling permitting the government to force beef producers to pay for a marketing campaign, even if they disagree with the message [ "Justices Settle Beef Over Meat Ads," May 30, 2005, Page 12], could weaken the main argument against the Solomon Amendment which helps provide the military with access to campuses for recruiting. In the decision the Supreme Court has agreed to review, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit held the Solomon Amendment unconstitutional, claiming that it unconstitutionally pressured colleges — by threatening to cut off federal funding — to support speech which they oppose. But if the government can force cattlemen to pay for ads to promote what the Court called “government speech,” it can be argued that it should be able to make funding decisions to encourage colleges to do the same. Indeed, the position that the Solomon Amendment is unconstitutional will be much harder to defend in light of the beef ruling for at least three reasons. First, the beef promotion campaign clearly and unequivocally involved speech favoring beef. Those opposed to the Solomon Amendment argue that permitting military recruiters on campus in effect also constitutes a message — speech — derogatory to homosexuals because of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But military recruiters recruit and usually do not speak about the policy, so it may be harder to argue that their mere presence on campus constitutes “speech.” Furthermore, it can be argued that the presence of recruiters on campus doesn’t necessary imply support for discrimination based upon sexual orientation any more than it involves support for gender discrimination (since women can’t serve in combat) or age discrimination (since older men can’t enlist), or for other controversial governmental policies such as using animals in experiments, limited forms of stem cell research, providing contraceptives to soldiers, etc. Second, the Solomon Amendment — unlike the beef program — does not force any university to do anything, but rather encourages colleges to permit military recruiters on campus by providing governmental aid. This, it can be argued, is far less coercive — and therefore less likely to be held unconstitutional — than the beef program, which does force cattlemen to contribute their own money to support speech which they oppose. Third, the Supreme Court typically takes into account the importance of the governmental interest involved, and balances that against the impact on the interests of others. But the governmental interest involved in persuading people to eat lots of beef is hardly compelling. In contrast, the government argues that the Solomon Amendment is vital to its very important governmental interest of maintaining and restaffing the armed forces, particularly at a time when we are at war, and the military is falling short of its recruiting goals. Since the Supreme Court generally gives the federal government far more deference and leeway in matters regarding national defense and security than in simply encouraging trade, the importance of the governmental interest involved seems to weigh more heavily in favor of military recruiting than selling more beef. John F. Banzhaf III Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor George Washington University Law School Washington, D.C. GOVERNMENT SHUNS MARAJUANA RESEARCH To the editor: Despite the recent Supreme Court ruling on marijuana [ "Court Snuffs Hopes for Medical Marijuana," June 13, 2005, Page 8], the U.S. government has quietly cultivated and distributed therapeutic cannabis since 1978, through the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Though federal officials call it a “research program,” in 28 years they have curiously neglected to perform research on the recipients of their marijuana. Currently, patients receive federal marijuana to treat symptoms related to bone tumors, nail patella syndrome, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis. Drug czar John Walters claims that no research supports marijuana as medicine, but enormous volumes of international research support therapeutic use of cannabis. We would have American-based research as well if the federal government would allow the plant to be researched. Christopher Largen Denton, Texas

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