Wash. Times op-ed falsely claims Kagan wouldn’t let “willing Harvard law students” meet with military recruiters
A Washington Times op-ed baselessly claimed that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan promoted an “anti-military campaign” while dean of Harvard Law, citing the false claim that Kagan “den[ied] JAG officers and willing Harvard law students the opportunity to meet and talk about opportunities to serve in the military.” In fact, students had access to military recruiters throughout Kagan’s tenure as dean, and Kagan’s respect for the military is well established.
Wash. Times op-ed falsely claims Kagan “ban[ned]” military recruiters from Harvard Law
From a May 19 Washington Times contradicted by data Media Matters for America obtained from Harvard Law School’s public information officer. The prohibition on Harvard Law’s OCS working with military recruiters existed during the spring 2005 semester, meaning that it could have affected only the classes of 2005, 2006, and 2007. However, the number of graduates from each of those classes who entered the military was equal to or greater than the number who entered the military from any of Harvard’s previous five classes.
Kagan did not “discriminat[e]” against the military
Kagan: Anti-discrimination policy applied to “any employer that uses the services of OCS.” Kagan did not, as Rotunda claimed, “discriminat[e]” against the military, but rather briefly ended the military recruiter exception (created in 2002) to Harvard Law School’s broad op-ed by Flagg Youngblood labeling Kagan an “anti-military zealot,” three Iraq war veterans attending Harvard Law School wrote in a letter to the editor that Kagan has “created an environment that is highly supportive of students who have served in the military” and that “[u]nder her leadership, Harvard Law School has also gone out of its way to highlight our military service.” The veterans also stated that their support for military recruiting at the school “has not diminished our appreciation for Miss Kagan’s embrace of veterans on campus.” The Harvard Law Record later reported on the veterans’ letter, quoting Iraq veteran Geoff Orazem as saying, “Kagan has great respect for the military.”
Conservative legal blog: No reason to believe Kagan is hostile to the military. At Volokh Conspiracy, a group blog run by mostly conservative law professors, George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin wrote: “I don’t see any reason to believe that [Kagan’s decision on military recruiters] reflects a general hostility towards the armed forces.”
Republican Sen. Brown: Kagan is “very supportive of the military as a whole.” The Hill speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, Kagan stated: “I am in awe of your courage and your dedication, especially in these times of great uncertainty and danger. I know how much my security and freedom and indeed everything else I value depend on all of you.” Kagan further stated that she has been “grieved” by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because she “wish[es]” that gays and lesbians “could join this noblest of all professions and serve their country in this most important of all ways.” Kagan added:
But I would regret very much if anyone thought that the disagreement between American law schools and the US military extended beyond this single issue. It does not. And I would regret still more if that disagreement created any broader chasm between law schools and the military. It must not. It must not because of what we, like all Americans, owe to you. And it must not because of what I am going to talk with you about tonight — because of the deep, the fundamental, the necessary connection between military leadership and law. That connection makes it imperative that we — military leaders and legal educators — join hands and be partners.
Kagan: It’s “just wrong” that gays and lesbians “cannot perform what I truly believe to be the greatest service a person can give for their country.” In an October 6, 2003, email announcing that Harvard Law School would allow military recruiters on campus, Kagan wrote that “[t]he importance of the military to our society — and the extraordinary service that members of the military provide to all the rest of us — makes this discrimination [against gay troops] more, not less, repugnant,” a sentiment she reiterated in a 2005 letter offering “background” on the school’s position on military recruiting on campus. In October 2004, Kagan reportedly said in protest of the ban on openly gay troops: “These men and women, notwithstanding their talents, their conviction, their courage, cannot perform what I truly believe to be the greatest service a person can give for their country. And that’s just wrong, that’s just flat out wrong.” In a 2008 statement on the military recruiting issue, Kagan wrote, “The military is a noble profession, which provides extraordinary service to each of us every day.”