Friday, January 30, 2009


Last year candidate Barack Obama repeatedly opined that students should have military service opportunities on campus. However, President Obama’s nominee for solicitor general, Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, believes the military should be barred from campus. In fact, she fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court, trampling on students’ constitutional rights all the way there, in order to deny qualified students the opportunity to serve our country.

So now we’re supposed to accept a nominee who sought to eviscerate one of the federal laws she may soon have the responsibility to defend? Not so fast.

Kagan’s staunch ideological opposition to the military and providing qualified students the opportunity to serve puts her well outside of the mainstream. Even Bill Clinton, who dodged a military draft during Vietnam, signed the law Kagan opposes, the Solomon amendment, with overwhelming congressional and public support.

Solomon, simply put, seeks to facilitate voluntary military service by asking colleges and universities to allow students to meet with military recruiters on campus and to participate in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Schools whose policies or practices obstruct students from taking part are ineligible for federal funding.

Yet, Kagan, who has categorized the law as “immoral” at a 2003 Harvard student forum, argued in support of the position of the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, the so-called FAIR coalition, claiming elite schools have a right to taxpayer largesse while simultaneously barring the military - a radical view the Supreme Court unanimously struck down.

Since the Solicitor General serves as the advocate for the interests of the American people to the Supreme Court, we’re expected to believe Kagan is the best choice? Her nomination smacks of special interest, aimed at protecting the Ivy League’s out-of-touch elitism at the expense of students, taxpayers, and our military alike.

And, what about the qualified students who desire to serve our country? Second-class, back-of-the-bus treatment, that’s what they get, typically having to make time-consuming commutes to other schools and, much worse, the ill-deserved disdain of faculty and peers on their own campuses.

The military, nobly and selflessly, stands alert at freedom’s edge, ready to defend our nation in times of crisis, and should therefore be honored, and, as most Americans would argue, given preferential treatment, for guarding the liberties that academics such as Kagan profess to protect.

That’s precisely why Congress intervened more than a decade ago, at the behest of the large majority of Americans who recognize and appreciate what our military does, to fulfill the Constitution’s call for a common defense among the few, enumerated federal powers. And, to stop financing those who undermine that fundamental duty.

Yet, leftwing views like Kagan’s still disparage the sacrifices our military makes and cause real, quantifiable harm to students and to our nation at taxpayer expense. According to Harvard’s annual financial statements, the school received $473 million of our hard-earned dollars during the 2003-4 school year, while FAIR, with Kagan’s help, won an injunction against the military in the Third Circuit. Harvard took another $511 million during the following school year and, for 2005-6, $517 million more as the Supreme Court heard and rejected FAIR’s claims.

Even Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and centerpiece of the liberals’ high court coalition, couldn’t find a way to justify these spurious, anti-student claims and recognized Congress’ ability to condition taxpayer spending.

By denying students the opportunity to serve, Kagan has demonstrated a “mother knows best” mentality - the very same she argued Congress, speaking for the American people, has no right to impose.

With such inconsistencies a matter of public record, it’s clear Elena Kagan has greater concern for advancing a radical, leftist agenda than for the Constitution and the American people. As such, she should not be confirmed as Solicitor General.

Flagg K. Youngblood, an Army veteran and Yale alumnus, advocates for students’ rights as director of military outreach for Young America’s Foundation.

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