Elena Kagan church-state jurisprudence 'encouraging' - Orthodox Union
06/24/2010 - 11:20
James Besser

As Senate confirmation hearings approach, there's the predictable Jewish silliness in the press and the blogosphere.

Jewish right-winger Frank Gaffney  frets that Elena Kagan, President Obama's choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, has troubling attitudes “toward the repressive legal code authoritative Islam calls Shariah and her enabling of efforts to insinuate it into this country.”
  
(Think Progress, a liberal group, charges that Gaffney's Washington Times op-ed was accompanied by a “doctored photo” showing Kagan in a turban.)

And Robert Bork, whose unsuccessful 1987 Supreme Court confirmation fight gave us the verb “to bork,” worries that Kagan's “admiration for former Israeli Supreme Court justice Aharon Barak disqualified her for the job,” according to a Washington Post blog

But the Orthodox Union, one of few Jewish groups to talk about the nomination,  seems more interested in examining her record. Imagine that.

While the group does not endorse or oppose Court nominees, today its leaders wrote to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and said Kagan's record on church-state jurisprudence – the OU's special area of concern – is “encouraging.”

The letter notes her “repudiation of 'an extreme, dogmatic and outdated view' of the Establishment Clause in the course of her Solicitor General confirmation hearings last year,” according to an OU statement.

Read the whole OU letter here

Confirmation hearings start next week, and despite Gaffney and Bork, most analysts say it will go about as smoothly as the Obama administration might hope.

What about other Jewish groups? Things are pretty quiet on that front.

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has an “Ask Elena Kagan” Web page , and the National Jewish Democratic Council thinks she's a “uniquely accomplished candidate," (now there's a surprise). 

Other than those – silence.  Guess a potentially critical vote on a narrowly divided High Court just isn't that important.

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