Controversial Lt. Gen. called by GOP as Kagan witness

Retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin is one of four members of the military the GOP has asked to testify at Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings next week. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings will take place throughout next week, but the panel has not released a detailed schedule on specific hearing dates.

Boykin got in trouble during the Bush administration when speeches he gave to church groups framing the war on terrorism in religous terms surfaced. 

At a speech to a Daytona, Fla., church, for example, he
characterized a military search for a suspected terrorist as a
religious battle:

{mosads}”He [the suspected terrorist] went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he
said, ‘They’ll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will
protect me … Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than
his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”

The comments proved embarassing to the Bush administration, which at the time was struggling to convince Muslims that the war on terrorism was not an attack on Islam.

Reports about Boykin’s comments led to a Pentagon investigation and calls by GOP Sen. John Warner (Va.) for Boykin to step aside. The Pentagon said corrective action was taken but did not provide details.

Boykin retired in 2007.

Judiciary Republicans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The high proportion of military personnel in the GOP lineup shows Republicans will continue to make Kagan’s efforts to restrict military recruitment at Harvard an issue. Kagan, while serving as dean of Harvard’s law school, did not let military recruiters have access to the career services office because she believe the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays serving openly in the military violated the school’s anti-discrimination policies.

The Senate Judiciary Committee released Boykin’s name along with 25 other majority and minority witnesses on Friday.


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