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New York Civil Liberties Union vs. "Unwanted, Abusive, and Intrusive Military Recruitment Tactics":

The NYCLU press release reports:

The New York Civil Liberties Union today announced its major campaign against unwanted, abusive and intrusive military recruitment tactics in schools. The beginning of a new school year marks the opening of another season of military recruiting of high school students as the military exercises the authority it gained under little-known provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Such provision have been interpreted as a requirement that school authorities turn over student contact lists to the military and afford its recruiters unprecedented access to students in school. . . .

"The military is setting its sights on vulnerable groups of young people as it tries to meet the demands for more soldiers to fight an increasingly unpopular war." said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU.

"We send our children to school for an education, not to become military targets. Unfortunately, little noticed provisions of No Child Left Behind have given the military unprecedented access to students in school and an aggressive military has turned some of our schools into a recruiting ground. The NYCLU seeks to ensure that they respect the privacy rights of the children and do not interfere with education."

As part of its campaign, the NYCLU will begin distributing a new pamphlet "No Student Left Unrecruited" outside high schools in New York City today. The pamphlet outlines student rights and provides a tear-off form that students can submit to their schools to remove their name from the recruiting lists sent to the military.

The NYCLU campaign also includes:

* a new NYCLU military recruiting Web site, http://milrec.nyclu.org, which contains student rights information, forms and legal analyses that will help students, parents and educators protect student privacy rights and report recruiting abuses;

* a confidential complaint center where students, parents and educators can report abusive recruiting tactics;

* plans to contact to every school superintendent in the state, urging them to replace ineffective parental "opt-out" procedures that leave virtually no child unrecruited, with an instant in-class student opt-out form that allows students to remove themselves from the military recruiting lists. . . .

In the past there have been complaints of intimidation, deception and harassment by military recruiters in person, by telephone and by e-mail. In some schools, military recruiters have made themselves a regular presence with weekly visits and extensive access to students. Special military marketing materials target students of color. . . .

Of course, "abusive" military recruitment tactics, including "intimidation, deception and harassment" are surely wrong, and generally counterproductive -- they risk alienating the very students whom the military is trying to recruit, and of course their friends as well. The site doesn't point to specific instances of this, but if there are such instances, they should certainly be complained about.

Yet I wonder about other aspects of the NYCLU's complaints, for instance:

1. Why is there a civil liberties problem with unwanted military recruitment? If you don't want the military to offer you a job, you can just say "no, thanks." How is it a violation of your civil liberties to be approached in the first instance? (Yes, I realize that the school is giving the military contact information, but how does providing this information interfere with anyone's civil liberty?) Is it really an aspect of our civil liberty not even to be asked to join?

2. What exactly is the civil liberties problem with "ineffective parental 'opt-out' procedures that leave virtually no child unrecruited"? Presumably the procedures are "ineffective" because parents don't choose to use them. And there seems to be little wrong with a circumstance in which virtually no child is unrecruited. Even if "in-class student opt-out" is more "effective" at removing students from recruiting lists, why is that a plus for civil liberty?

3. The ACLU generally supports race-based affirmative action, including race-based outreach. Many of its allies in this campaign point to the military as an example of an institution that effectively practices such race-based affirmative action. Wouldn't the military "targeting students of color" -- and offering them important training opportunities, though of course ones that also carry considerable personal risk -- therefore be good?

4. The ACLU generally takes the view that young people are mature enough to exercise their free speech rights, abortion rights, and so on. Yet here the NYCLU characterizes older teenagers, who are presumably 17 or 18 when they sign up (I'm not sure whether the military enlists 17-year-olds, but let's even assume that they are), as "vulnerable groups of young people." Why aren't these students, especially when they turn 18 and are adults, entitled to learn about the options they have available to them -- options they may find financially, educationally, and patriotically valuable?

5. Why exactly does it matter for civil liberties purposes whether the war is increasingly unpopular or not?

I ask above what the civil liberties problems are with the military's actions, because I assume the NYCLU is still an organization that's focused on civil liberties; I realize it may define them differently than how others may define them, yet one would think that there is still a boundary to what is a civil liberties issue.

Naturally, if this were the New York Anti-Military-Recruiting Union setting up this project, or even the New York Pacifists' Union or the New York Anti-War-in-Iraq-Union or the New York Anti-Bush-Administration-Union, I wouldn't be asking these questions: It would be quite clear why those groups might want to decrease the effectiveness of the Administration's military recruiting plans. (Not all those groups might want to take these steps; for instance, many foes of the Bush Administration or even of the war effort might not want to try to decrease the effectiveness of recruiting. But at least I could understand why some such groups would act this way.)

What I don't quite see is why the New York Civil Liberties Union would see this as part of its agenda.

For more, including the views of Nat Hentoff, a former ACLU board member, see this New York Sun article.

Sydney Carton:
"I assume the NYCLU is still an organization that's focused on civil liberties."

That was your first mistake. It is a wrong assumption.

"Naturally, if this were the New York Anti-Military-Recruiting Union setting up this project, or even the New York Pacifists' Union or the New York Anti-War-in-Iraq-Union or the New York Anti-Bush-Administration-Union, I wouldn't be asking these questions."

Is there any difference between what the NYCLU or even the ACLU does, and those invented organizations that you name above? I would think not.

Here's a good guide: anything -CLU is probably a leftist, transnational, pseudo-communist, anti-orthodox organization, which means it is opposed to American patriotic organizations like the US Military, among other things. These groups should be deplored.
9.23.2005 3:40pm
cirby (mail):
From previous experience with ACLU folks, their real point is that people in the US have the right to do pretty much anything, as long as it's approved of in general by ACLU managers. Sure, they'll support an occasional Klan rally or someone similarly obnoxious, but only if they're sufficiently far out to make the ACLU efforts seem noble yet ill-fated for "moral" reasons.

"Look how noble we are for defending these people everyone can categorically hate."
9.23.2005 3:42pm
Dick King:
I find it amusing that the ACLU is claiming that opt-out is ineffective, but is opposing the California "paycheck protection" referendum which would replace opt-out with opt-in on the use of government worker union dues for political purposes [as opposed to health and welfare, strike funds, you know, the sorts of things unions are for, but most people don't remember].

Yes, opt-out is seldom done because of inertia. Which is why opt-out has to be replaced with opt-in in this domain, where unions violate members' free-speech rights by putting words into their mouths and forcing them to opt out if they choose to avoid paying for the megaphone.

-dk
9.23.2005 3:43pm
OneEyedMan (mail) (www):
Recruits must be between 17 and 34,
http://www.military.com/AboutUs/0,14363,au_pr_112402,00.html
9.23.2005 3:43pm
John Jenkins (mail):
17-year-old recruits who are not emancipated require a parent's or guardian's consent to enlist as well.
9.23.2005 3:59pm
The Drill SGT:
Young people can enlist at 17.5 with a parent's signature. You must be over 18, and therefore an adult to be sent overseas.

The military is the most race blind organization in the US. They do keep stats etc, mandated by law, but first and foremost competency is the secret to promotion.

The stats I have seen from Iraq seem to show that young white rural males are slightly overrepresented in the death numbers. Far from that urban myth of poor blacks dying for rich whitey chicken hawks.

The military has been the ticket out of urban poverty for countless young men and women. I don't recall that his folks were extremely poor, but I would judge that Colin Powell, son of immigrant New Yorkers, ought to be the poster child for growth and achievement.

The Drill SGT
College drop-out, Private, SGT, Vietnam Vet, ROTC, BA, Officer, MBA, Proud American, Loving Husband of a National Guard Soldier on Active Duty

PS: He's a thought for the ACLU and Civil Liberties:

What we really need (just kidding here) is to redefine suffrage to include only folks that perform a period of National Service (Military, Peace Corps, emptying bed pans in a VA Hospital etc) (ala Starship Troops). If not for the vote, then demand it as a requirement for election to Congress.

Not because Vets are smarter, wiser, etc, but because they have demonstrated the understanding that doing something for the common good is their duty as citizens of a free country
9.23.2005 4:01pm
The Drill SGT:
here's rather than He's
9.23.2005 4:03pm
Isaac (www):
The Drill SGT:

Interesting idea. Would you allow for an exemption for disabled people?
9.23.2005 4:09pm
Nobody Special:
Disabled people who would be competent to enfranchise are able to do something, and thus need not be given an exemption.

There's always desk jobs, which take up a huge amount of staff in the military.
9.23.2005 4:13pm
steveh2 (mail):
Well, I have no basis to comment on the merits of the objections, but I can see where a civil liberties organization would be concerned.

When one joins the military, doesn't one basically lose a whole lot of one's civil liberties? The military basically owns your butt, and basically forever given stop notices and the like.

So there's a reason that persons interested in protecting the civil liberties of others would want to take steps to combat what they perceive to be unfair or misleading military recruitment strategies.
9.23.2005 4:14pm
Isaac (www):
There are disabilities that make it very difficult to hold on to a job but are not sufficiently severe to keep someone from voting. One example that comes to mind is extreme depression.
9.23.2005 4:16pm
Dick King:
Do you want a congressman who is too disabled to hold a job?
9.23.2005 4:35pm
Steve:
The complaint relates to "unwanted, abusive, and intrusive tactics," not "unwanted, abusive, or intrusive tactics." I don't think the question of tactics that are unwanted, but otherwise polite and reasonable, is truly at issue.
9.23.2005 4:45pm
rico:
Drill SGT - ever read Heinlein's "Starship Troopers"? He makes an excellent case for your proposal. And as a '29 Naval Academy grad, he lived it.
9.23.2005 4:47pm
JB:
Who are you people, and how did you find a libertarian website?
9.23.2005 5:06pm
Nobody Special:
Dude, rico, he mentions the book in his comment. I think it's pretty likely he has.
9.23.2005 5:07pm
David Berke:
Nobody Special,

Conceivably, he saw the movie. The argument is not really formed in the movie.
9.23.2005 5:18pm
Adam:
You ask about the civil liberties tie. I think the relevant right is what Brandeis called the right to be left alone, which is under sustained and aggressive attack.

I think the military has the right to recruit, but not (as a matter of ethics, not law) to demand that the school system turn over information about the students. If the schools work anything like the rest of the world, your ability to opt out is on a single form, next to a paragraph of complex text, and after you check it, they fail to key it in at data entry.
9.23.2005 5:19pm
Nobody Special:
David Berke-

Perhaps, but I doubt that anyone would get the "hey, this is a really good idea" vibe from the movie, let alone the specific "interposing yourself between danger and society" argument advanced in the book's courses on History &Moral Philosophy.
9.23.2005 5:23pm
David Berke:
I'm going to throw out the following argument, one which may or may not apply to the ACLU. So please, if you're going to tell me why this argument is not one of theirs, don't, I'm not interested.

This is not a knock against the armed forces. We need them. They are exceptionally valuable for the security of this nation, and as noted above, have been a path to security and success for many. But...

I'm not comfortable with the government giving out the contact information of school children (even 17 year olds) on a widespread basis without their permission. Whether a constitutional right, or merely a reasonable expectation, I think that people should be secure in their expectation that their government will not disclose this information.

All the arguments in favor of this disclosure could be made for numerous other organizations; the Democratic Party, Republican Party, various Gay &Lesbian Rights Organizations, KKK...NAMBLA...Where does it end?
9.23.2005 5:28pm
Cecilius:
Eugene makes a silly attempt to understand the NYCLU's actions by seeing how they fit into a normative rule-based scheme that most of us refer to as "principles." He should know better. If the NYCLU is anything like the ACLU, then they don't have principles that consistently inform their behavior. Their protests are thin veils for an irrational, flower-power-era hatred of all things military. That their irrational hatred appears to conflict with their purported principles rarely sparks introspective caution among the Left. Don't expect the NYCLU to start reconsidering the logical consistency of their actions now. It's not one of their principles.
9.23.2005 5:32pm
David Berke:
NS,

Unless, of course, they were somewhat predisposed to the idea. But I imagine you make a fair point as to the rest, I do not recall the book well enough to argue to the contrary.
9.23.2005 5:32pm
B. B. (mail):
"Yes, I realize that the school is giving the military contact information, but how does providing this information interfere with anyone's civil liberty?"

There's one of your reasons they're involved -- this goes to the right of privacy, which would be one of those civil liberties. Whether you believe in it or not, as of right now it's part of the Constitution per the SCOTUS.

That being said, when I was in high school the recruiters would show up, and after I registered for Selective Service, I started getting phone calls. It didn't much bother me. Then again, after I told the recruiter that I was an asthmatic with a degenerative eye condition that requires me to wear hard contacts, along with 50%+ hearing loss in one ear and an ankle I had sprained in increasing severity 3 times in the previous 14 months, they weren't very interested anymore and stopped calling.
9.23.2005 5:35pm
A.S.:
"I think the military has the right to recruit, but not (as a matter of ethics, not law) to demand that the school system turn over information about the students."

I agree that, as a matter of ethics, the federal government should not use its superior position under the law to demand that a local school system turn over information about the students.

However, I think that, as a matter of ethics, it is perfectly permissible for the federal government to condition a grant of money to a local school district on that district's compliance with a request to turn over such information. The local school system then has every right to refuse to turn over that information, but it knows that the cost of such refusal is a loss of federal money.

This, BTW, is I believe how the NCLB law actually works.
9.23.2005 5:41pm
erp (mail):
Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU, "We send our children to school for an education, not to become military targets." Military targets, isn't that a bit over the top Donna?

An education, is that why you send your kids to school? If it is, you're out of luck, because kids in the public schools get very little of what I would think of as education, but they are targets of leftwing propaganda K/12.

I would be willing to bet the farm that her kids go to private school where she pays a king's ransom so that her kids get the education denied to public school kids.
9.23.2005 5:43pm
Michelangelo (www):
School is for socialization. Which socialization? Vegan, Military, Earth Day. That is the fight.
9.23.2005 6:42pm
PierreM (mail):
'Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU, "We send our children to school for an education, not to become military targets."'

I hope she sent the memo to bin Laden. Or was she not speaking metaphorically, and actually thinks that the US military makes our students "military targets" in a literal sense? Another moonbat. ACLU: American Communist Lawyers Union.
9.23.2005 6:43pm
Sean M.:
A year or two ago, I was a "victim" of these recruiting practices. The Army had apparently gotten my name from my high school and called me, not aware that I still wasn't in high school.

The SGT was very polite and friendly. I told him he was a bit late - I was in college and happy there. We talked a little bit about my school, he told me not to forget the Army ROTC opportunities.

I thanked him, and it was over. Five minutes. Certainly more friendly than a telemarketer that wanted to sell me a set of encylopedias.

If these folks are willing to go die for me, I can at least take five minutes to tell them "thanks, but it's not for me."
9.23.2005 6:46pm
JBL:

I like the irony of being concerned about excessive government intrusion into our public school system.
9.23.2005 6:54pm
DK:
I find three things in this thread and story incomprehensible. One is the claim that the military has a "right" to recruit. #2 is the claim that giving information to the military is like giving it to the Democratic Party, KKK, etc. #3 is the claim that giving the military contact information is an illegal or immoral invasion of privacy.

Folks, the military is a lot of things, but primarily it is the _government_. It is therefore fundamentally unlike the Democratic party or any other organization, and it has both powers and limitations unlike any private organization. First, it has no rights, only delegated powers; contrary to bureaucratic belief, the Constitution does not exist to protect the government from the people but vice versa. Second, while it should be subject to many legal and constitutional limits, its use of power/invasion of privacy here is trivial by government standards. In this case, it is being less coercive and intrusive than the Census Bureau, the Department of Education, and my local court's jury pool, let alone the IRS.

I do not see any reason that the military should be restricted from getting anyone's contact information, any more than the county clerk of court is. The jury pool also sends me repeated, hassling notices pressuring me to serve; it seems to end up using educated professional whites less than other groups; it has in the past does things that I find morally distateful (vioxx, death penalty for retarded people w/o adequate legal represenation, etc.);
I would prefer for it to stop contacting me; and unlike military recruiters, it will use force to make you serve. But, the jury pool is part of the price we pay for living in a free society. IMHO, attempts to get your school or community exempted from military recruiting should be considered as nuts to get yourself permanently exempted from jury service or from paying taxes.

But once they have that information, military recruiting should be (and is, in law if allegedly not in fact) restricted to practice nondiscrimination, honesty, and appropriate levels of non-coercive pressure. If not, then lawsuits are appropriate. I don't trust the NYCLU as a judge of military recruiting standards, but IMHO it makes a suitable plaintiff.

And BTW, the NYCLU is probably doing the military a favor. Identifying and removing the contact info for all self-important, anti-war people who don't want to even hear recruiting messages will help the military save time and postage. Society would probably benefit even more if the NYCLU forwarded the restricted information to reality tv show producers, who are always looking for self-important recruits.
9.23.2005 7:10pm
The Drill SGT:
Comments:

1. Rico,

Yes, I read "Starship Troopers" every few years. The movie was crap.

2. To Others on the subject of Disabled People and Franchise. Heinlein proposed lots of jobs that disabled people could do (testing vaccines, vacuum suits, etc). His premise was, anybody could sign up, state their preferences, take the tests, and then would be assigned based on society's needs, their ability, and desires. If you decided that you didn't fit in, you could resign, but you could never re-apply for service/franchise.

It wouldn't ever work, transition would be impossible, but it is an excellent thought exercise in civics.

3. Eugene,

Obviously, you already know why the ACLU is in this fight. I would not have a problem with their suit if the ACLU was in fact an objective organization. Unfortunately, the ACLU has a clear left wing and possibly anti-American agenda that colors their position on many topics.

4. I have problems with this request by the ACLU.

* plans to contact to every school superintendent in the state, urging them to replace ineffective parental "opt-out" procedures that leave virtually no child unrecruited, with an instant in-class student opt-out form that allows students to remove themselves from the military recruiting lists. . .

Coming from a family full of school teachers (mother, brother, sis in law, all much to the left of me) I have concerns about the way this opt-out in class would be done and whether in fact the teacher would direct the young adults to complete the form.
9.23.2005 7:54pm
SteveMG (mail):
Sean M.:
Classy post, Sean.

Don't see too many of those on the internet. But there's always hope...

SMG
9.23.2005 9:10pm
David Berke:
DK,

In what way does establishing that the military is an arm of the government make for a principled distinction? It's a different part of a different government, you may wish to address that in your response.

JBL,

It's not a question of excessive governmental involvement in school, but instead reflects a concern with the manner in which the government uses information collected through its involvement. Personally I enjoy the irony arising out of its misapplication.
9.23.2005 9:14pm
Jim O'Sullivn (mail) (www):
I am getting so sick of this: treating the ACLU as if it were just another bunch of libs like the NAACP or the ADA. It is a communist organization. Read up on its history, for crissakes. It was founded by members of the American Communist Party to advance a communist agenda. It advances only those "civil liberites" that foster that goal. That's why it's hostile to Second Amendment rights, and property rights. Did you see it running to the side of the citizenry in the recent, infamous, Kelo case? No, because property rights are the antithesis of its socialist agenda. Come on people, snap out of it! Smell the friggin' coffee.
9.23.2005 10:40pm
Robert Schwartz (mail):
"What I don't quite see is why the New York Civil Liberties Union would see this as part of its agenda."

Because their agenda has nothing to do with "civil liberties," it is 1) opposing George Bush at every turn, 2) crippling the United States of America as a world power, 3) eliminating religion as a source of social morality and organization, 4) destroying heterosexual families as a basis of society, 5) abolishing traditionalist institutions such as the Boy Scouts, and 6) bringing about the dictatorship of the proletariat as a prelude to true communism.

Once you accept that their name has nothing to do with their agenda, your understanding of the way the world really is will be increased, and you will never again be puzzled by anything any so-called civil liberties union does.
9.23.2005 10:48pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
There are certain rules that protect students' information. When government rewrites the rules to create an exception for itself, that's a civil liberties concern. E.g. in New Orleans, you can't have a gun -unless you're the government. I don't know whether or not the info the recruiters get would be banned by the general rules for a private party.
The military discriminates on the basis of gender preference, which the government should not do, as matter of equal protection. That's a valid civil liberties concern, but it's also a priority for the ACLU, which gets a lot of support from the gay community.
Heavyhanded recruiting tactics by the british was a cause of the 1776 and 1812 conflicts. It's a valid civil liberties concern.
Children, and schoolchildren especially, are pervasively denied civil liberties, as are those in the armed services.
A person whose life path is child> soldier > corpse never gets to enjoy the freedom people pretend they are fighting for, the liberty and justice for all they mumbled daily for years. It's a civil liberties concern when people go their whole lives without enjoying civil liberties. That said, the current war has a much lower fatality rate for the usa soldiers than in previous wars.
The ACLU gets 1000 requests for every case it takes. They have to choose their battles, so if they find an issue that has a civil liberties hook, a gender issue, and plays into the anti-militarism tendencies of their support base - and I'm guessing at lot of the ACLU's revenue comes from New York - that works. The ACLU acts as a (fourth?) branch of government, the private attorneys general, because the government is failing to handle this role itself. This is a failure, in part, of our profession - we swear to uphold the constitution and then take government jobs that involve daily constitutional violations. Perhaps it also a failure of veterans, who swear to protect the constitution from its domestic enemies, but then don't do much about that set of duties.
9.23.2005 10:49pm
disgruntled:
Nevermind the whole privacy issue. There is no way to opt out of letting the military get your child's information. Not that they should be getting it in the first place...
9.23.2005 11:30pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Perhaps they could join the ACLU. With the fabulous trainibg they'll get in the ACLU, they'll become fine distinguished Americans just like....er.....uh.....well...gee...er....there has to be one....uh........golly.......er....gee willikers. NO ONE!!!
9.24.2005 12:02am
Steph (mail):
How to lie while telling the truth. Ardvark writes

"Heavyhanded recruiting tactics by the british was a cause of the 1776 and 1812 conflicts."

This is true, but not the whole story. Impressment which was the heavyhanded recruting tactic in question was the royal navy's form of the draft. It involved sending parties of officers and petty officers into a port town and kidnapping sailors, landsmen, and boys for service on His Majesty's ships. This is a damn long way from allowing recruters to call young men and women and ask them to serve in the armed forces of the republic.
9.24.2005 12:15am
Oh please:
I was "recruited" by the military when I was in high school. All my friends were too. I don't know but I guess they got our addresses from school or public records of some sort.

The "recruiting" started when I was 16 or so and consisted of several very professionally-made brochures in the mailbox. They were basically sales pitches for the various branches of the service - mostly Army - and outlined the college and other educational benefits available through ROTC.

This was in the 1970s. I wasn't interested, mostly because I was a girl and not physically very able, but for whatever reason I ignored them. As a result they eventually gave up on me.

But now, if I take the NYCLU's argument seriously, I must believe that these missives constitued a violation of my civil rights? Uhh, what?

By the same logic, just today, I was "recruited" by Val-Pak to change my dry cleaners (1-Hour Martinizing!) and have Fresh Rotisserie Chicken delivered to my doorstep.

I'm so tired of the -CLUs advancing their fringe agendas based on the premise that the people they supposedly crusade on behalf of are too stupid to make decisions for themselves. As if the brave men and women of the military are retarded dupes, conned into service by smooth-talking salesmen.

Let the military make its best pitch, and let the kids make up their own minds. I have more confidence in the average American teenager's intelligence than I do in the average ACLU activist's.
9.24.2005 12:16am
gina (mail) (www):
I think it is just to score points with the anti war movement ..
9.24.2005 12:23am
Bleepless (mail):
The irony is endless. Pornography is wonderful but peaceful expression by soldiers ought to be forbidden. If you do not like pornography, you can do something else. If you do not like military recruiting, ban it.

No, Professor Volokh, this is not a civil liberties issue at all. But it is a hypocrites' issue.
9.24.2005 12:36am
Bobbie:
Sometimes I wonder what presumably intelligent professors think when they read comments to their blog that say things like the ACLU's goal is to further communism or the ACLU wants to destroy heterosexual families as a basis of society (a tad bit overly dramatic?). Do they laugh? Do they secretly agree, but are too afraid to say so publicly? Are they embarrassed? Pleased? Honestly, I'd like to know and I can't be alone.

As far as the complaint about the ACLU goes, I don't see what's unclear about the link between their actions and mission statement: the organization clearly feels that giving away personal contact information to the military violates privacy rights. Perhaps they're wrong about the extent of the right of privacy (legally or ethically), or perhaps they're wrong about the intrusiveness of the recruiting, but it's odd to claim that you don't even see the link between what the ACLU is doing and civil liberties.

It's no different, facially, than if the government gave away your personal information to telemarketers so they could solicit business from you. If the government did, setting aside the legal niceties, I'd certainly feel like my privacy rights had been violated. If the situation with the military is different, it's because of the perceived importance of the military in relation to the privacy you are giving up. Of course, perhaps Professor Volokh wouldn't mind if the government gave all of our personal contact information to telemarketers since we can always just say, "no thanks," when they call.

Finally, the comment about affirmative action is silly. Just because the ACLU supports race-based preferences, it doesn't follow that it thinks anything that helps to level the racial playing field is "good" or that it's being hypocritical whenever it opposes something that would help minorities. (Lets see, since Professor Volokh supports race-blind criteria, I presume he must support the random killing of people on the street because that would be done on a race-blind basis!)
9.24.2005 1:21am
David Berke:
Bleepless,

There is a world of difference between saying that the military should not be allowed to recruit (which, thankfully, is not the claim that the NYCLU is making) and that the schools should not be forced to give away the contact information for all of their students.

For that reason, there's no irony.
9.24.2005 1:51am
submandave (mail) (www):
A slight correction, but one does not loose civil liberties when joining the military. Rather, one voluntarily gives up some rights temporarily. This is not like the loss of civil liberties experienced by prisoners mainly because military affiliation is voluntary.
9.24.2005 3:48am
mrsizer (www):
What about those Selective Service cards? Doesn't that give the military all the contact information it needs? Why bother with the schools' mailing lists?

BTW: The argument that you can "just give up the money", even if true, is somewhat facile. Think 21 year old drinking age and highway funds. It's blackmail by the federal government pure and simple.
9.24.2005 8:30am
Jim O'Sullivn (mail) (www):
Bobbie:
True or false: the ACLU was founded by members of the American Communist party to further a communist agenda. True or false? If it's false, laugh. If it's true, I don't see the source of the humor. Maybe you do. You seem to think you're a very intellignt person. Much smarter than I, right? So, I am not just wrong, but laughably wrong, when say the ACLU was founded by communists. So you've looked it up, right?
I doubt it. Some useful idiots (not necessarily a reference to you personally) don't know they are doing the bidding of its communist founders, but that hasn't changed the ACLU's course.
Its "mission statement." Now, I'm laughing. I can imagine the ACLU board meeting where they decided not to help the citizens fighting the government takeover of their property in Kelo. "Well, we looked in the mission statement, and there's nothing about property rights in there. I guess we're powerless to act."
9.24.2005 10:01am
Ryland:
I see nothing wrong with the way the government does this. The schools are free to "opt out". Just like states are free to keep their drinking age at 18, or many other things they blackmail states into.
9.24.2005 10:12am
Per Son:
I always found it interesting that at my old highschool recruiters only went to the lower level classes and never the AP classes. What, are they against having highly intelligent non-coms?

Maybe the world is safer with brainiacs like Lyndsey England in the military.
9.24.2005 11:54am
markm (mail):
"Heavyhanded recruiting tactics by the british was a cause of the 1776 and 1812 conflicts." So you equate asking young people if they want to join with kidnapping sailors off of ships as well as out of seaports. (In one incident leading up to the war of 1812, a British warship actually fired upon and boarded a US Navy ship, then forcefully removed any sailors they judged to have an English accent.)
9.24.2005 12:55pm
rap (mail):
Addressing Aardvark's point, an enumerated right was violated by the gun grab in New Orleans. Has the ACLU taken up that violation yet?
9.24.2005 1:01pm
=0= (mail):
2. What exactly is the civil liberties problem with "ineffective parental 'opt-out' procedures that leave virtually no child unrecruited"? Presumably the procedures are "ineffective" because parents don't choose to use them. And there seems to be little wrong with a circumstance in which virtually no child is unrecruited. Even if "in-class student opt-out" is more "effective" at removing students from recruiting lists, why is that a plus for civil liberty?

Eugene,

I assume that if a tax-supported institution (which, one assumes, should err on the side of protecting civil liberties - that's what they're there for, after all) can gain access to this data, then private institutions should be free to, as well. So, the question becomes, is it a minus for civil liberties if Proctor and Gamble have opt-out access to student records?
9.24.2005 2:05pm
Per Son:
Rap:

Why should any given civil rights group (e.g. ACLU, Institute for Justice, etc.) take up every civil right?
9.24.2005 2:16pm
=0= (mail):
His premise was, anybody could sign up, state their preferences, take the tests, and then would be assigned based on society's needs

My goodness. I thought this site attracted conservatives.
9.24.2005 2:20pm
another different chris:
The point is that the Federal Government has no moral right to intervene in my family. I do not want them to contact my children, period. I should not have to fill out any forms to "opt-out". I place opt-out in quotes as it is no real opt-out from this program. The "opt-out" does not remove the records, it simply recategorizes the record as not wanting to be contacted. So regardless of my wishes, the military will retain a dossier on me and my family. That's unacceptable to me.

Volokh and others, you are on the wrong side of this issue.
9.24.2005 2:41pm
David Berke:
Jim,

Is there anything that could possibly convince you that the ACLU is not some kind of communist organization devoted to destroying this country? If you can't imagine a set of circumstances that doesn't involve them doing precisely what you want, perhaps you are just too close minded to have a reasonable opinion and should simply be ignored, at least on this issue.

On this very blog, a great deal of information has come out suggesting that despite whatever goals were at one point proposed by one of its founders, that such goals were abandoned. We've heard about keeping communists out of leadership positions. We've heard about the one time founder moderating his opinions.

As for the Kelo garbage, get over it. The whole line of cases leading up to Kelo are questionable, fine. I wholeheartedly agree. But do you hear anyone here claiming that because some conservative or libertarian organization didn't support them that these organizations hate everyone who isn't rich? No. You read far too much into this.
9.24.2005 3:03pm
Bobbie:
Jim, if you'll re-read my post, you'll see I don't reference your remark about the ACLU's founding. (As an aside, I don't really see why it's relevant. The United States was founded by a number of people who thought it was okay to own another human being; isn't that worse than being a communist?) Instead, I was referring to your assertion that the ACLU is a "communist organization" and it "advances" (note your use of present tense) "only those 'civil liberties' that foster" the goals of the communist agenda.

And if you're going to bash the ACLU, at least make sure you attack them for positions they hold. For information on their work in the Kelo case, please read here.
9.24.2005 4:32pm
Bobbie:
In my last post, I thought the article linked on the ACLU's website mentioned that they filed an amicus brief in the Kelo case in support of the homeowners; apparently, they did not. The ACLU didn't seem to take a position on the subject, although several articles sympathetic to property rights did appear on local ACLU websites, including the one I linked. For a communist organization, you think they'd at least file an amicus brief on behalf of the government.
9.24.2005 4:43pm
Ronald D. Coleman (mail) (www):
The point is that the Federal Government has no moral right to intervene in my family. I do not want them to contact my children, period. I should not have to fill out any forms to "opt-out". I place opt-out in quotes as it is no real opt-out from this program. The "opt-out" does not remove the records, it simply recategorizes the record as not wanting to be contacted. So regardless of my wishes, the military will retain a dossier on me and my family. That's unacceptable to me.


ADC, the military is less interested in your family than you think. What reason do you have to believe there's actually a "dossier" about your family besides an inflated self of importance? Also, what is "intervening in [your] family"? They intervene in my family every April 15th. Is that okay?
9.24.2005 11:38pm
Jb:
I guess Jim's too busy huntin' reds to respond.
I must say, I'm scared that this is a comments string from a libertarian website.
9.24.2005 11:53pm
another different chris:

ADC, the military is less interested in your family than you think.


OK, then expunge the data when the parent opts out.


What reason do you have to believe there's actually a "dossier" about your family besides an inflated self of importance?


Since you don't know me, please don't claim that I have an exaggerated sense of self importance. That is only common courtesy.

As to why I know this, I pay attention to privacy issues. The DOD records location, sex, birthdate, race, social security number, and whether the parent has opted out. I call that a dossier. And clearly they care about it or would not gather the information, or would at least expunge it when the parent "opts out".


Also, what is "intervening in [your] family"?


I would say that compelling local governments to turn over my family's personal data to the DOD, marketing to my family, without an opt out that covers the entire process, is such.


They intervene in my family every April 15th. Is that okay?


Of course Federal Income tax is backed by the 16th Ammendment to the US Constitution.

The legislation that created the DOD databases in question were a small section of a large bill. And the implementation was largely left to the DOD itself.

To compare the two is a stretch. It's also a strawman since it is an entirely separate and distinct topic.
9.25.2005 12:58am
Kate L:
I would say a problem I have with the opt-out procedure would be that it's hard to do. My high school would send out forms saying that the school had permission to release our names and contact information for the school paper/newsletter, local newspapers, and the military. Everything was lumped together. I told them I did not want to be contacted by the military, and I still was.

Of course, I then spoke to the recruiter that called me, who started yelling at me when he decided I had called him stupid (because I said I was going to college, or something along those lines).

But anyway, as far as I'm concerned, that's where the issue lies--not so much in that opting out is a hassle, as that it is hard to opt out.
9.25.2005 2:23am
David M. Nieporent (www):
1. The only information required to be released by NCLB is name, address, and telephone number. This information is about as 'private' as who won the Oscars at last year's awards show. The other information described by "another different Chris" simply is not part of the law, and it's a "dossier" only insofar as the phone book is.

2. Schools also release this information to college recruiters. How many people object to that? How many people think their privacy rights have been violated because of it? Has the NYCLU or any other organization ever protested this?
9.25.2005 8:34am
another different chris:

1. The only information required to be released by NCLB is name, address, and telephone number. This information is about as 'private' as who won the Oscars at last year's awards show. The other information described by "another different Chris" simply is not part of the law, and it's a "dossier" only insofar as the phone book is.


That may be true but that is not the complete truth. Here is what the DOD is gathering, from the Federal Register. Note that they continue to maintain this dossier even on people who "opt-out":


Categories of individuals covered by the system:
Names of high school students, aged 16-18; current college students; and Selective Service System registrants. Individuals who have taken the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test; Individuals who have responded to various paid/non-paid advertising campaigns seeking enlistment information since July 1992; Current military personnel who are on Active Duty or in the Reserves. Individuals who are in the process of enlisting. Individuals who have asked to be removed from any future recruitment lists.

Categories of records in the system:
Full name, date of birth, gender, address, city, state, zip code, and where available Social Security Number (SSN), e-mail address, ethnicity, telephone number, high school name, graduation date, Grade Point Average (GPA) code, education level, college intent (if documented), military interest (if documented), field of study, current college attending, ASVAB Test date, ASVAB Armed Forces Qualifying Test Category Score.


So you are right, No Child Left Behind authorizes collection of only a few data fields. But from this seed, they continue building a profile from many other data sources. If this isn't compiling a dossier, I don't know what is.


2. Schools also release this information to college recruiters. How many people object to that? How many people think their privacy rights have been violated because of it? Has the NYCLU or any other organization ever protested this?


This is another strawman. NCLB does not compell schools to turn over data to college recruiters, ring companies, as it does with the DOD. Our history is that the government has a tendancy to abuse this power.
9.25.2005 1:32pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
1. Okay, but none of that has to do with the NCLB. Also, it is not a dossier on "you and your family," as you stated, but only on the students/recent grads themselves. you did leave this part out:

Retention and disposal:
Destroy when 5 years old or 5 years after completion of a specific
training program


And nowhere does it say that they build this so-called "dossier" from a "seed" of the NCLB information. Since, logically, there's no way to get from mere name/address/telephone number (the NCLB information) to all the rest of that, it seems pretty clear that this other information comes from the other sources they describe: people who have taken the test, signed up with selective service, responded to their past marketing efforts, or people who have actually joined the military.

If you're worried about military intrusions on privacy, NCLB ought to be down there about 50th on the list, behind 49 entries entitled "selective service registration." Not only do they gather information about you from that, but they require you personally to supply it.

2. This is another strawman. NCLB does not compell schools to turn over data to college recruiters, ring companies, as it does with the DOD.

So you're saying that the NYCLU's complaint, as well as your complaint, is not that schools do this, but that NCLB "compels" them to do so? If schools simply chose to do this you'd be fine with it? No, I don't think so. You're the one concocting a strawman. Look at, e.g., Bobbie's complaint about the government turning the information over to telemarketers. He/she is not complaining that the schools are "required" to turn the information over, but that they are turning the information over.

Geez, the military could get this information by purchasing it from a telemarketing firm. It's just more accurate, more efficient, and more cost-effective to get it directly from the schools. This is much ado about absolutely nothing.

If you don't want them keeping a database of potential recruits, then (a) NCLB is the wrong target, and (b) you're being unrealistic. The military does have to recruit. That's the extremely minor price to pay for an all-volunteer military.
9.25.2005 4:09pm
another different chris:

1. Okay, but none of that has to do with the NCLB. Also, it is not a dossier on "you and your family," as you stated, but only on the students/recent grads themselves. you did leave this part out:

Retention and disposal:
Destroy when 5 years old or 5 years after completion of a specific
training program


There's nothing sinister in that. I posted the link to the Federal Register so that you could up your own mind. The reason I quoted what I did was to respond to a prior point that said that the DOD was only gathering name, phone number, and location of students. I was also addressing Eugene Volokh's original question as to why the "opt-out" is insufficient. To reiterate, once you are in the database there is no opt-out. Even if your child was placed there due to error or negligence of school officials. As to the 5 year period, if a student goes to college until age 22, the record would not be purged until he is 27.


And nowhere does it say that they build this so-called "dossier" from a "seed" of the NCLB information. Since, logically, there's no way to get from mere name/address/telephone number (the NCLB information) to all the rest of that, it seems pretty clear that this other information comes from the other sources they describe: people who have taken the test, signed up with selective service, responded to their past marketing efforts, or people who have actually joined the military.


That is not entirely true. They also have the students SSN from selective service records. From that they can get anything. It is pulled together from various sources, some from the private sector. Indeed, the work of gathering the data is at least partially outsourced. You may find the DOD press conference interesting (link


So you're saying that the NYCLU's complaint, as well as your complaint, is not that schools do this, but that NCLB "compels" them to do so?


I only speak for myself. My prime complaint is that students who do not want to be in a large government-run marketing database have no way to get themselves out. A prime mechanism for populating this is compulsion upon schools via NCLB. Both are wrongs.

Which brings up a point regarding NYCLU. I have read that some of the schools in the NYC area are running the list as an opt-in, which has brought them into conflict with the military. They had announced that they would defend the schools if they were to be sued. So they may have mobilized around this issue on that basis. That is pure speculation on my part, though.


If you're worried about military intrusions on privacy, NCLB ought to be down there about 50th on the list, behind 49 entries entitled "selective service registration." Not only do they gather information about you from that, but they require you personally to supply it.


What makes you think I'm not?


This is much ado about absolutely nothing.


In that case the military should simply stop getting information from the schools.


If you don't want them keeping a database of potential recruits, then (a) NCLB is the wrong target, and (b) you're being unrealistic. The military does have to recruit. That's the extremely minor price to pay for an all-volunteer military.


That's your opinion, not mine.
9.25.2005 7:36pm
Bleepless (mail):
Dear Mr. Berke, Please forgive the delay.

Pornography comes in via the media. ACLU says that, if you do not want to indulge, then choose something else.

Military recruiters come in via -- what? Mail, the telephone, maybe the doorbell. If you do not want to indulge, then choose something else. ACLU thinks the former is grand but the latter is unacceptable.
9.25.2005 7:51pm