By last week’s end, everyone knew Elena Kagan charmed most of our elected representatives involved in the Senate confirmation hearings and deftly maneuvered her way past any confrontations with her own assessment of those hearings as vapid and hollow, while she danced past any interrogations into her radical support for partial-birth abortion in the Clinton adminstration.
But she also finessed the issue of her handling of the US military in her tenure as Harvard law school dean, her putdown of military recruiters as a stand against the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy offered as compromise legislation by President Bill Clinton himself during his administration.
So Kagan told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, “We were trying to do two things, to make sure military recruiters had full access to students and protect our anti-discrimination policy.”
That is, Kagan spent the week arguing that the policy was utterly meaningless.
“Military recruiters had access to Harvard students every single day I was dean,” she boasted.
And: “I respect and indeed I revere the military.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the committee, wasn’t buying it. He told Kagan, “You keep referring in your e-mails and all to the military policy. Isn’t it a fact that the policy was not the military policy, but a law passed by the Congress of the United States?” He complained that recruiters who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan “were appearing to recruit on your campus … and you were taking steps to treat them in a second-class way.”
And: “Why wouldn’t you complain to Congress and not to the dutiful men and women who put their lives on the line for America every day?”
The answer is simple. To complain to Congress would entail standing up to Democrats, including her old boss, President Bill Clinton.
So instead, Kagan and company targeted U.S. troops acting under orders. When doing so became inconvenient, that is, when it impeded her ascension to the Supreme Court, she argued that the military ban didn’t really do anything.