No 'Little-Bitty Matter:' Sessions Says Kagan 'Violated the Law' on Military Recruiting

The Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions, R-AL, seized on Elena Kagan’s role in prohibiting military recruiting on Harvard's campus during her tenure as the dean of Harvard Law School in an exclusive "This Week" interview and called it “no little-bitty matter.” He insisted that Kagan was not only wrong in her decision, but broke the law. Sessions was joined by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT, who called the issue “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 military recruiting on campus on Harvard again so the school wouldn’t lose funding. Asked about the issue by host Jake Tapper, Sessions 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,” he said. “That went on for a number of years. It was a national issue. People still remember the debate about it.”

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

Leahy insisted that the whole affair was much ado about nothing. “Well, this is like in Shakespeare,” he said. “Sound and fury signifying nothing. She -- the recruiters were always on the Harvard campus. She's shown her respect for the veterans there. … Recruiting went on at Harvard every single day throughout the time she was -- she was there,” Leahy said.

Sessions strongly disagreed: “She disallowed them from the normal recruitment process on campus. She went out of her way to do so,” he told Tapper. “She was a national leader in that, and she violated the law of the United States at various points in the process.”

Other Republican voices have been even sharper. “She, as Dean of the Harvard Law School, took an effort to block the American military from the Harvard campus all the way to the Supreme Court during a war,” former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said last night an NRA convention. “And that is an act so unbecoming of an American that she should be disqualified from the very beginning,” he said.

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