Sessions Urges Defense Department to Release Kagan Documents

Posted June 2, 2010 at 3:25pm

Updated: 5 p.m.

Senate Judiciary ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Wednesday called on the Defense Department to release any documents relating to its dispute with Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan over the department’s recruitment efforts at Harvard Law School.

In June 1 letter to Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Charles Johnson, Sessions asks for all documents relating to Harvard Law School’s policies on military recruitment, noting that, “Records obtained by the Committee in connection with Ms. Kagan’s nomination indicate that the Department of Defense had a series of interactions with Harvard University and Harvard Law School over the Law School’s policies regarding the United States Armed Forces’ recruitment activities at Harvard Law School, beginning in the late 1990’s.”

The request covers the period between 1997 and 2007, and Sessions asks that the military provide its documents to the committee before June 11 to ensure Senators have enough time to review them before the start of Kagan’s confirmation hearings. Democrats are hoping to kick off those hearings June 28.

While the dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan prohibited the military from using certain school resources to recruit students because of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting openly gay individuals from serving in the military.

The school argued that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy violated its anti-discrimination rules, a position that it later reversed.

Meanwhile, White House Counsel Bob Bauer on Tuesday reiterated the administration’s intention to release 160,000 pages of documents relating to Kagan’s time in the Clinton White House before the start of the Senate hearings. In a letter to Sessions, Bauer noted that Obama does not intend to assert executive privilege over the documents and that a ongoing review of the documents “will not prevent the Archives from producing these documents to the Committee in advance of June 28.”