Conservatives Build Case Against Kagan on Military Recruitment Ban

Critics warn she is "anti-military"

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Conservatives are splitting on whether to support Elana Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court. But those in opposition are rapidly organizing around a chief complaint: Kagan's decision, while Dean of the Harvard Law School, to ban military recruiters from using the Harvard Law School Office of Career Services. Kagan said at the time that the policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was discriminatory, a violation of students' rights, and "a profound wrong -- a moral injustice of the first order." Conservatives are seizing on that decision, later reversed, to portray Kagan as anti-military, too zealous on gay rights, and as potentially willing to put her personal beliefs first.

  • Kristol: She Is 'Anti-Military'  The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol laments "Her hostility to the U.S. military." He explains that the Clinton administration was also responsible for that policy, so why did she focus on the military? "Many important people are complicit in what Kagan regards as the 'moral injustice of the first order' of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The only ones Kagan sought to make pay a price were those serving the ranks of the military. So Kagan needs to be asked: Why doesn't this reflect hostility to the military?"
  • 'Anti-Military Zealot'  So accuses the Washington Times' Flagg K. Youngblood. "Kagan's staunch ideological opposition to the military and providing qualified students the opportunity to serve puts her well outside of the mainstream. Even Bill Clinton, who dodged a military draft during Vietnam, signed the law Kagan opposes, the Solomon amendment, with overwhelming congressional and public support."
  • Doesn't Appreciate Military's 'Heroism'  In a press release, Danny Gonzalez of conservative pro-military group Move America Forward writes, "President Obama should be appointing to the Supreme Court only those who truly appreciate the heroism and contribution to our freedom we get from the United States military. Kagan fails that test, and we hope she will be summarily rejected in confirmation by the United States Senate."
  • And This Is Her Biggest Recorded Policy Decision  The Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong notes that we don't have much else to go on to divine Kagan's worldview. "Elena Kagan’s most notable foray into public life was kicking military recruiters off of Harvard’s campus."
  • 'Cheap Morale Posturing'  The National Review's Ed Whelan suspects that she never really opposed military recruiting in principle, but merely "engaging in cheap and contemptible moral posturing." His case? "Whatever moral opposition Kagan had to the law when it was adopted didn’t deter her from seeking and obtaining employment in the Clinton White House. Nor will it keep her from palling around with the many senators who voted for it, such as Vice President Biden."
  • Liberal Piles On: Her 'Achilles Heal'  The Daily Beast's Peter Beinart also chides Kagan's policy, calling it her "Achilles heal" for confirmation. "If Solicitor General Elana Kagan gets the nod, conservatives will beat the hell out of her for opposing military recruitment on campus when she was dean of Harvard Law School. And liberals should concede the point; the conservatives will be right."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.