The White House has begun pushing back against one of the chief attack lines that prominent conservatives have launched against President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court.
White House blogger Jesse Lee published a post Monday titled, “Elena Kagan: ‘Supportive Of the Men And Women Who Are Fighting To Protect Us’,” directly in answer to a frequent criticism from the Right against Kagan, which is that as dean of the Harvard Law School, she barred military recruiters from campus.
Conservative activists, commentators and others began raising the issue against the 50-year-old Kagan immediately after Obama announced last week that the now-solicitor general would be his pick to succeed retiring Justice John Stevens.
Although the White House blog acknowledges that Kagan opposes the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of allowing gays to serve in uniform only if they keep their sexuality hidden, it says that the allegation that as dean she prevented recruitment is false. Kagan was dean of the law school from 2003 through 2009, when Obama named her as the first female solicitor general.
“A common claim from these critics is that the military was ‘banned’ from the campus altogether during Kagan’s tenure as Dean -– in fact, not only was the military allowed to continue to recruit in classrooms on campus and through the Harvard Law Students Veterans Association, a review of the recruitment figures has shown that recruitment kept completely on pace with previous years during Kagan’s time,” the blog post says.
In its blog, the White House quotes many prominent conservatives and Republicans in Kagan’s defense, beginning with Ken Starr, who is is quoted as saying that unfair attacks don’t serve the Supreme Court “well and therefore I don’t think it serves the country well.”
Starr is most remembered as the Republican special prosecutor who brought a case for impeachment more than a decade ago against President Bill Clinton over the president’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.
The White House goes on to quote a top official at the West Point military academy as saying it is “ludicrous” to smear Kagan as “antimilitary,” citing a story in the Boston Globe.
The blog post also quotes a story earlier this month in a Capitol Hill newspaper, in which Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts called Kagan “supportive of the men and women who are fighting to protect us and very supportive of the military as a whole,” although Brown has not revealed whether he will vote to confirm Kagan to the high court.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.