(CN) – A military advocacy group lacks standing to get a court order forcing the government to withhold funding from a university where protesters blocked military recruiters from approaching students, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
Young America’s Foundation, a group “committed to ensuring that young Americans understand and are inspired by … the importance of a strong national defense,” said it had to cancel one job fair and withdraw from another because of protests at the University of California-Santa Cruz.
It asked a federal judge in the District of Columbia to enforce the Solomon Amendment, which requires the secretary of defense to withhold federal funding from institutions that ban or effectively prevent military recruiting.
The district court ruled that the group lacked standing, and that Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ decision to enforce the Solomon Amendment is discretionary and beyond judicial review.
On appeal, Gates focused on the protesters, saying they were “most unlikely to abandon their efforts simply because UCSC may lose federal funds.” Young America’s Foundation argued that the “relevant third party here is UCSC,” because it “has given tacit approval” to the protests.
The federal appeals court said it didn’t matter which third party they emphasized, because the plaintiff failed to show how the secretary’s withholding or threatening to withhold federal funding would allow its members to meet with military recruiters.
It dismissed the case on standing alone.