Top Republican Says Kagan 'Violated the Law'

Cites Harvard military recruiting spat when Court nominee was law school dean.

ByABC News
May 16, 2010, 11:35 AM

May 16, 2010— -- Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told ABC News' "This Week" that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan "violated the law" by not allowing military recruiting on the Harvard Law School campus when she was dean there, and added the issue is "no little-bitty matter."

But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., appearing on "This Week" with Sessions, dismissed the argument as "sound and fury signifying nothing."

The controversy revolves around Kagan's decision to prohibit military recruiting directly on the law school's campus because the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy prohibiting gays from openly serving in the armed forces violated Harvard Law School's anti-discrimination policy.

When the Supreme Court ruled that a law tying federal funding of schools to military recruiting was constitutional, Kagan allowed on-campus military recruiting to resume so the school wouldn't lose funding.

Asked about the issue by host Jake Tapper, Sessions, R-Ala., said, "This is no little-bitty matter, Jake. She would not let them come to the area that does the recruiting on the campus. They had to meet with some student veterans, and this is not acceptable. It was a big error.

"That went on for a number of years," Sessions said. "It was a national issue. People still remember the debate about it.

"She reversed the policy," Sessions said. "When she became dean, they were allowing the military to come back on campus and had been for a couple of years."