One of the odd dichotomies in the academic career of recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is her militant opposition to the U. S. military’s ban on homosexuality and her equally fervent embrace of the Shariah law of the Mideast that proscribes death for homosexuals.
Offhand, the only link between the two seems to be a hostility to western traditions. We have gone to some lengths at Accuracy in Academia to cover the former.
Over at the Center for Security Policy, Christine Brim exhaustively documents the latter. Among other things:
1. “With Kagan’s direction, Harvard’s Islamic Legal Studies Program developed a mission statement (here on 9/2008, also 6/2009) dedicated ‘to promote a deep appreciation of Islamic law as one of the world’s major legal systems,’” Brim shows. “In 2003, the year Kagan became Harvard Law School Dean, Islamic Legal Studies Program Founding Director Frank Vogel and Associate Director Peri Bearman founded the Massachusetts-based International Society for Islamic Legal Studies,” Brim continues. “In 2007, Bearman and Vogel founded the Islamic Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools (inaugural panel audio here).”
2. “When Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal offered $10 million to New York City’s Rudy Guiliani on October 11, 2001, Guiliani refused to accept it, because the prince insisted that U.S. policies in the middle east were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attack,” Brim reminds us. “Guiliani stated flatly, ‘There is no moral equivalent for this act.’ But – when Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal offered $20 million to the Islamic Legal Studies Program in December 2005 – Kagan accepted it; after all, the Saudi royal family had funded the program since its inception, to establish the moral and legal equivalency between Shariah law and U.S. Constitutional law. As Newt Gingrich has noted, Harvard Law School currently has three chairs endowed by Saudi Arabia, including one dedicated to the study of Islamic sharia law.”
3. “In December, 2006, Kagan hired Noah Feldman, architect of Iraq’s Constitution requiring Shariah, as a star faculty member at Harvard Law School,” Brim recounts. “On March 16, 2008, Feldman published his controversial article ‘Why Shariah’ in the New York Times Magazine, which promoted ‘Islamists’—the Muslim Brotherhood—as a progressive democratic party, and promoted Shariah as a model not just for Muslim-majority countries but for all: ‘In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world…’” On September 16, 2008, Kagan honored him with the endowed Bemis Chair in International Law. “Feldman’s speech on receiving the award was revealing: he advocated for an international, ‘outward interpretation’ of the Constitution that could ‘require the U.S. to confer rights on citizens of other nations,’ and allow for an ‘experimental Constitution.’”
4. “On May 1, 2007, Kagan initiated a lecture series on Shariah Law, named for Abd al-Razzaq al-Sanhuri, a legal scholar who had drafted constitutions throughout the Middle East between the 1930s and 1960s,” Brim reveals. “The goal towards which I am striving is that there will be an Arab civil code derived primarily from the Islamic Shari’a,” al-Sanhuri himself states in his book The Arab Civil Code. “Kagan presided over four of the al-Sanhuri lectures before her departure to become Obama’s Solicitor General,” Brim notes.
5. “On November 19, 2008, Elena Kagan presented the Harvard Law School Medal of Freedom to Iftikhar Chaudhry, the controversial Chief Justice of Pakistan,” Brim reveals. “Chaudry had been deposed from his post in 2007 by President General Pervez Musharraf in a complex dispute that included the issue of independence of the judiciary. Musharraf later resigned, and on March 16, 2009, the Prime Minister Gilani re-appointed Chaudhry as Chief Justice.”
“Contrary to the constitution of Pakistan, Chaudhry usurped the right of appointment of vacancies in the court from the elected prime minister and president…In a previous ruling, Chaudhry reaffirmed the right of the court to disqualify members of Parliament, the president and all ministers of the cabinet from serving if they violate ‘Islamic injunctions,” or do not engage in ‘teaching and practices, obligatory duties prescribed by Islam,” Department of Defense attorneys from the Clinton and Reagan eras found.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia