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Military recruiters will be officially welcomed at Harvard Law School this year after all. Whether they are next year likely depends on the U.S. Supreme Court. Harvard has reversed, at least for now, its policy of barring the Pentagon from using the law school’s career services office for recruiting. Harvard, like many other law schools, contends the Pentagon’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy on gays violates the guidelines on nondiscrimination that the school requires of recruiters on campus. A decade-old federal law, called the Solomon Amendment, requires campuses to offer full recruiting access to the military or risk losing federal grants. But that law is in limbo. Last year, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals sided with law schools who had sued to overturn the law on free speech grounds. After that decision, most law schools said they would continue to follow the law pending a final ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear the case in December. Harvard, however, reverted to its old policy and did not offer formal recruiting cooperation last spring. But in an e-mail sent to students late Tuesday, Dean Elena Kagan said the Pentagon had warned Harvard it would enforce the law despite the 3rd Circuit ruling, potentially costing the university — and especially its research-intensive medical and public health schools — hundreds of millions of dollars. Overall, about 15 percent of the university’s budget comes from the government. On Wednesday, a group of Harvard faculty announced they had filed a brief to the Supreme Court urging the law be overturned. A separate consortium of law schools also planned to file a brief laying out separate arguments against the law. Last week, three law schools, including New York Law School, were listed in the federal register as ineligible for federal funds for denying full cooperation to military recruiters, according to Kent Greenfield, a Boston College law professor active in the case opposing the law. But all three were “stand-alone” law schools that were not putting other parts of their universities at risk of losing federal money. Yale Law School also has reinstated its policy denying formal access to military recruiters, but it is protected by a separate injunction from a federal judge that prevents the Pentagon from enforcing the policy there. HLS Lambda, a group representing gay law students at Harvard, posted a statement on its Web site saying the group wished the university had more actively opposed the law, but applauded Kagan for barring recruiters last November. The organization said the Solomon Amendment goes against the Pentagon’s best interests by keeping urgently needed people out of military service. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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