Anyone watching the SCOTUS hearing is familiar with Elena Kagan denying recruiters on Havard’s campus because the military’s policy towards homosexuality was in conflict with Harvard’s (and Kagan's) "non-discrimination" policy. So far, it has proven to be the most divisive issue during the proceedings.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, in particular, has taken the lead on contradicting the nominee’s statements on her military policies.
“I know what happened at Harvard. I know you were an outspoken leader against the military policy. I know you acted without legal authority to… deny the military equal access to campus until you were threatened by the United States government with the loss of federal funds,” Sen. Sessions said.
But Kagan aggressively denied any hostility towards the recruiters, insisting that she had been exceptionally welcoming to the military during her time at Harvard. Backing her up was a highly-publicized editorial published in the Washington Post from a former Marine officer who had attended Harvard Law during her tenure.
“If Elena Kagan is ‘anti-military,’ she certainly didn't show it,” said Robert Merrill, now a captain in the Marine Corps who is serving as a legal adviser to a Marine infantry battalion in southern Afghanistan. “She treated the veterans at Harvard like VIPs, and she was a fervent advocate of our veterans association.”
In the editorial, Merrill went on at length about private dinners with Kagan that were held simply to honor his service, and Kagan’s personal connection to students who were serving throughout their time at school. During the trial, Kagan said that Merrill’s editorial “made her cry,” unlike any other issue.
“We never suggested that any members of the military, you know, should be criticized in any way,” said Kagan. “I tried to make clear in everything I did that how much I honored everyone who was associated with the military on the Harvard law school campus.”
She also insisted that she gave the military “full and good” access.
“The military during all times of my deanship had full and good access,” said Kagan. Military recruiting did not go down… it went up. And it went up because we ensured that students would know that the military recruiters were coming to campus. Because I talked about how important military service was.”
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