Family Research Council: Elena Kagan Is Siding With The Enemy

June 18, 2010 11:52 am ET — Walid Zafar

Muslim-baiter Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is accusing Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan of siding with the "enemy." In an e-mail sent to subscribers yesterday, Perkins latches on to a series of already debunked arguments to make the charge that Kagan is a hypocrite and guilty of treason.

It goes like this. During Elena Kagan's tenure as dean of Harvard Law School,  Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal gave Harvard University (not the law school) $20 million to establish an Islamic Studies program.  As the program's website states, the grant was made to "enable generations of students and scholars to gain a thorough understanding of Islam and its role both in the past and in today's world. Bridging the understanding between East and West is important for peace and tolerance."

Scary stuff!

Kagan had absolutely nothing to do with establishing the Islamic Studies program. But Perkins contends that the grant somehow proves Kagan has affection for "radical Muslims in the Middle East."  One of the so-called radical Muslims in his scenario is Prince Al-Waleed, who apparently is so radical that he would donate $20 million to establish a place to promote peace and tolerance.

The Islamic Studies program quite expectedly teaches the structures of Islamic law and jurisprudence, which is known collectively as Sharia law.  According to Perkins' (and Sen. Jeff Sessions') convoluted logic, since Kagan didn't oppose the grant, her stance on the military's discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is hypocritical.  My colleague Matt Finkelstein and Washington Monthly's Steve Benen have both demonstrated why that line of reasoning is meritless and "bottom of the barrel" politics.

But not only does Kagan have affection for radical Muslims, claims Perkins, she in fact sympathizes with terrorists.  He writes that Kagan "urged the Senate to soften its treatment of the enemy combatants at Guantanamo by stripping the President's power to detain them."  Was that the case?

In 2005, hawkish Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) introduced an amendment that would have given the Bush administration carte blanche authority to indefinitely detain and deny council to anyone they believed belonged to al-Qaeda.  Kagan and the deans of three other law schools wrote a letter in opposition, nothing that "were the Graham amendment to become law, a person suspected of being a member of al-Qaida could be arrested, transferred to Guantanamo, detained indefinitely, subjected to inhumane treatment, tried before a military commission and sentenced to death without any express authorization from Congress and without review by any independent federal court." 

In fact, her views on this issue have raised considerable dissent on the left.  As law professor Jonathan Turley notes, Kagan — much to the chagrin of many liberals and civil libertarians — "has testified that she does not believe in core protections for accused individuals in the war on terror."

Once again, the Family Research Council strikes out.