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Kagan: 'Don't ask, don't tell' is unjust

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, President Obama's pick to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, testifies on the third day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 30, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, President Obama's pick to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, testifies on the third day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 30, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, said Wednesday the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy is unwise and unjust.

When asked by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., about her action to ban military recruiters from Harvard University's career services office while she was dean of the Law School, Kagan said, "I was trying on one hand to ensure military recruiting, and on the other, defending the school's long-standing antidiscrimination policy. I had an institutional responsibility. …

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"The military … had excellent access to our students," Kagan said.

Earlier in her testimony, Kagan said people need to trust that the court is "entirely non-political."

"Every judge has to do what he or she thinks the law requires. But on the other hand, there's no question that the court is served best and our country is served best when people trust the court as an entirely non-political body," Kagan said during questioning by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Kagan, in her third day of Senate hearings, also heralded the advantages of "narrow decisions" that form "consensus" over "broad, far-reaching decisions" that create division on the court, refuting Whitehouse's assertion that today's court is motivated by politics.

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"I'm sure that everybody up there is acting in good faith," Kagan said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., asked Kagan to share her thoughts on free speech and the First Amendment.

"Even as we understand the absolute necessity … for protection of speakers from libel suits, from defamation suits, we should also appreciate that people who did nothing to ask for trouble … can be greatly harmed when something goes around the Internet, and everybody believes something false about a person. … That's a real harm, and the legal system should not pretend that it's not," Kagan said.

Kagan's nomination is expected to meet minimal resistance from the GOP, with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Wednesday calling her "soon-to-be Justice Kagan," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Democrats hope to push Kagan's nomination out of committee next week, with a full Senate vote in late July.

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