5/17/2010

Did Elena Kagan violate the law in forbidding military recruiters on campus?

At the least Kagan's actions show that she is very political and that politics comes first.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told ABC News' "This Week" that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan "violated the law" by not allowing military recruiting on the Harvard Law School campus when she was dean there, and added the issue is "no little-bitty matter."

But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., appearing on "This Week" with Sessions, dismissed the argument as "sound and fury signifying nothing."

The controversy revolves around Kagan's decision to prohibit military recruiting directly on the law school's campus because the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy prohibiting gays from openly serving in the armed forces violated Harvard Law School's anti-discrimination policy.

When the Supreme Court ruled that a law tying federal funding of schools to military recruiting was constitutional, Kagan allowed on-campus military recruiting to resume so the school wouldn't lose funding. Asked about the issue by host Jake Tapper, Sessions, R-Ala., said, "This is no little-bitty matter, Jake. She would not let them come to the area that does the recruiting on the campus. They had to meet with some student veterans, and this is not acceptable. It was a big error.

"That went on for a number of years," Sessions said. "It was a national issue. People still remember the debate about it. . . .

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Blogger matt said...

The most accurate interpretation of her actions is that she was balancing two sets of laws and their accompanying principles: an anti-discrimination law that she was concerned with applying to the students under her charge, and DADT. She even attempted to balance this out by allowing the recruiters on her campus under a different umbrella. And once the SCOTUS ruled as it did, she relented and made no attempt to showboat or be defiant. None of this is good enough, of course, for far-right fanatics who have no understanding of nuance or compromise. But for objective observers, it's difficult not to conclude that she did the correct thing in each instance.

5/17/2010 3:17 PM  

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