Kagan treated patriotic students like second class citizens when she banned them from meeting with military recruiters from the career office.
It is unclear whether she encouraged or required students to go off campus to meet with military recruiters. According to the New York Times, Harvard allowed on campus recruiting with the assistance of the Harvard Law Students Veterans Association (HLSVA). However, according to a letter posted on the HLSVA website from February 18, 2005, the HLSVA recruiters “will be strongly encouraged to arrange for an off-campus location to conduct interviews.”
The HLSVA letter goes on to say that their effort to provide recruiting assistance “falls short of duplicating the excellent assistance provided by the HLS Office of Career Services,” clearly indicating that students interested in a career in the military were not receiving institutional aid but were rather passed off to a group that acknowledged their, “tiny membership, meager budget, and lack of any office space, we possess neither the time nor the resources to routinely schedule campus rooms or advertise extensively for outside organizations, as is the norm for most recruiting events.”
Only because of pressure from then-President Larry Summers, and the threat of losing millions in federal funds, did Kagan opt for an apartheid system rather than an outright ban. She forced students to meet with military representatives off campus or in a segregated part of the campus, essentially telling these young people to “get to the back of the bus.”
Kagan fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to attempt to institutionalize discrimination against students who wish to serve their country. She filed an amicus brief in Rumsfeld v. FAIR. Her position was so extreme that it was rejected unanimously by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Even candidate Barack Obama claimed to differ with Kagan’s stance, saying that students should have military service opportunities on campus. He said, “The notion that young people…anywhere, in any university, aren’t offered the choice, the option of participating in military service, I think is a mistake.” Service Nation Presidential Forum, Columbia University, September 11, 2008)
The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision rejected Kagan’s radical ideology, saying that students have every right to meet with the military on campus and that the federal government has every right to deny US taxpayer funds to schools that did not comply.
The battle to limit the rights of certain students on campus—particularly those willing to sacrifice their lives in the service of their country—will begin anew should Kagan win a powerful life-long seat on the Supreme Court.
For more than forty years Young America’s Foundation has stood up for the rights of ROTC and students who wish to serve their country. In those forty years, we have never seen as dire a threat to students’ rights, and the constitutional rights of all citizens, as Elena Kagan presents.
Young America’s Foundation calls on United States Senators and all Americans who believe in protecting the rights of students and the rights of Americans to express themselves freely to oppose Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Kate Obenshain is Vice President of Young America’s Foundation