Commentary Magazine


Topic: vice presidents

Biden Strikes Again

Joe Biden says many dumb things, but this, on Elena Kagan’s opposition to military recruiters on campus, is up there with the worst of them:

She was right. … All during that period, she has reached out to veterans in the law school, she has been at promotions ceremonies, she’s recognized veterans coming to the law school. So this is not a single bit of anti-military bias. She does think, and I agree with her, that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is a very bad policy.

This is inane on multiple levels. First, she wasn’t “right” — there was a law that allowed recruiters on campus, and the Supreme Court decided that she was wrong in an 8-0 decision. Moreover, if it were such a bad policy, why didn’t he or then-Senator Barack Obama move to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? And, come to think of it, if it’s so bad, why doesn’t Obama issue an executive order to repeal it? Finally, it’s hard to argue that there wasn’t at least a bit of anti-military in her pronouncement:

“All Members of the Harvard Law School Community”: On Oct. 6, 2003, Kagan explained that she abhorred “the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy. … The military’s policy deprives many men and women of courage and character from having the opportunity to serve their country in the greatest way possible. This is a profound wrong — a moral injustice of the first order.” On Sep. 28, 2004: “… the military’s recruitment policy is both unjust and unwise. The military’s policy deprives…” etc. And on March 7, 2006: “I hope that many members of the Harvard Law School community will accept the Court’s invitation to express their views clearly and forcefully regarding the military’s discriminatory employment policy. As I have said before, I believe that policy is profoundly wrong — both unwise and unjust…,” etc.

Unfortunately, unlike vice presidents, judges and judicial nominees are judged on the precision of their words. Kagan’s got some explaining to do, and Biden isn’t helping her any.

Joe Biden says many dumb things, but this, on Elena Kagan’s opposition to military recruiters on campus, is up there with the worst of them:

She was right. … All during that period, she has reached out to veterans in the law school, she has been at promotions ceremonies, she’s recognized veterans coming to the law school. So this is not a single bit of anti-military bias. She does think, and I agree with her, that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is a very bad policy.

This is inane on multiple levels. First, she wasn’t “right” — there was a law that allowed recruiters on campus, and the Supreme Court decided that she was wrong in an 8-0 decision. Moreover, if it were such a bad policy, why didn’t he or then-Senator Barack Obama move to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? And, come to think of it, if it’s so bad, why doesn’t Obama issue an executive order to repeal it? Finally, it’s hard to argue that there wasn’t at least a bit of anti-military in her pronouncement:

“All Members of the Harvard Law School Community”: On Oct. 6, 2003, Kagan explained that she abhorred “the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy. … The military’s policy deprives many men and women of courage and character from having the opportunity to serve their country in the greatest way possible. This is a profound wrong — a moral injustice of the first order.” On Sep. 28, 2004: “… the military’s recruitment policy is both unjust and unwise. The military’s policy deprives…” etc. And on March 7, 2006: “I hope that many members of the Harvard Law School community will accept the Court’s invitation to express their views clearly and forcefully regarding the military’s discriminatory employment policy. As I have said before, I believe that policy is profoundly wrong — both unwise and unjust…,” etc.

Unfortunately, unlike vice presidents, judges and judicial nominees are judged on the precision of their words. Kagan’s got some explaining to do, and Biden isn’t helping her any.

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