Sessions to Kagan: ‘What were you thinking?’

May 24, 2010 6:02pm

ABC News' Ariane de Vogue reports:   Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, took to the Senate floor today to criticize U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. He took her to task for a decision she made while serving as Dean of Harvard Law School to ban military recruiters from the school’s career center because she believed the military’s "don’t ask don’t tell policy" violated the school’s anti-discrimination policy. Sessions asked her rhetorically, "What were you thinking when you punished our men and women in uniform?"

In 2007 Kagan, serving as Dean of Harvard Law, actually answered that question when she addressed cadets at West Point. In a speech submitted to Congress in conjunction with her nomination, Kagan says, "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."

Taking on the controversy regarding the military recruiters she said:

"I have been grieved in recent years to find your world and mine, the U.S. military and U.S. law schools, at odds, indeed, facing each other in court — on one issue. That issue is the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Law schools, including mine, believe that employment opportunities should extend to all their students, regardless of their race or sex or sexual orientation. And I personally believe that the exclusion of gays and lesbians from the military is both unjust and unwise. I wish devoutly that these Americans could join this noblest of all professions and serve their country in this most important of all ways.  But I would regret very much if anyone thought that the disagreement between American law schools and the U.S. 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."

- Ariane de Vogue

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