Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Solomon Amendment

Coyote Blog has it exactly right about the Solomon amendment case now before the Supreme Court (Rumsfeld v. FAIR). If you haven't heard of it, the Solomon amendment
is the popular name of 10 USC Sec. 983, a . . . federal law that allows the Secretary of Defense to deny Federal grants (including research grants) to institutions of higher education if they prohibit or prevent ROTC or military recruitment on campus.
Pro-defense types (as I am) may instinctively applaud the Solomon amendment. I oppose it, for the very same reason as the proprietor of Coyote Blog:
[The Solomon amendment] may be the new template for government control of individual lives. In both Universities and state governments, the Feds use the threat of withdrawal of federal funds to coerce actions (thing 55 mile speed limit, title IX, military recruiting on campus) that the Constitution nominally does not see[m] to give them authority over. Now, there is the distinct possibility that federal funds to individuals (Social Security, Medicare, unemployment) could be used to increase federal authority and coercive micro-management at the individual level.
It's quite a shell game. Congress takes money from taxpayers, then "gives" it away -- with strings attached. And because the money has passed through the hands of the federal government, the recipients of the money must do the bidding of the federal government. This wouldn't be happening if people were allowed to keep their money and use it as they see fit.

Here's hoping the Supreme Court upholds the Solomon amendment. That result would give liberals yet another reason to favor federalism.