Solicitor General Elena Kagan reiterated her strong opposition to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell during today’s confirmation hearings, telling an irritated Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) — who insisted on calling her “Dean” — that she opposed the policy then and she still does now:
KAGAN: Senator Sessions, I have repeatedly said that I believe that the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy is unwise and unjust. I believed it then and I believe it now. And we were trying to do two things. We were trying to make sure that military recruiters had full and complete access to our students, but we were also trying to protect our own anti-discrimination policy and to protect the students whom it is — whom it — the policy is supposed to protect, which in this case were our gay and lesbian students. And we tried to do both of those things.
As you can see, Sessions was fairly frustrated by Kagan’s reply. His argument is that Kagan’s activism against the policy undermined the military and sacrificed the national interest. “What I’m having difficulty with is why you would take the steps of treating the military in a second-class way, to speak to rallies, to send out e-mails, to immediately, without legal basis — because the Solomon Amendment was never at any time not in force as a matter of law,” he said.
The irony here is fairly obvious. While there is no evidence that HLS’s nondiscrimination policy treated anyone “in a second-class way” — recruitment actually increased at several points in Kagan’s tenure — denying gays and lesbians to openly serve in the armed forces certainly does. That this didn’t strike Sessions as ironic is telling and something that could have used some extra attention during the hearing. After all, as the Senate prepares to vote for the defense authorization bill that would begin the process of repealing DADT, using the hearings as a public forum to push back against Sessions’ premise that keeping out gays from serving is smart national security policy could help keep some of those “poison amendments” at bay.