Supreme Court

Is Kagan’s Jewishness Being Used Against Her?

Her background surfaces even as Jewish groups mostly silent on wider nomination battle.

06/30/2010
Washington Correspondent

 A Jewish community divided over key constitutional questions is watching closely but mostly silently as a hyper-partisan Senate debates President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to succeed the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens — and as hints that the nominee’s Jewishness is being used against her surface.

Elana Kagan

Broader Gun Rights: Bad For The Jews?

With NRA, after Court ruling, targeting city’s gun control laws, could Jewish institutions face heightened terror threats?

06/30/2010
Staff Writer

Defenders of broadly defined gun ownership rights announced this week, in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that limits states’ right to regulate firearms, that they will further challenge the power of municipalities like New York City and New York State to keep guns out of owners’ hands.

The gun lobby will probably miss its target, some experts say.

Ten Republican Questions For Kagan

 Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is scoring points for grace with her witty comeback during confirmation hearings to South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's oddly non-sequitur question "Where were you last Christmas?"

To her credit, the solicitor general defused the situation by saying she was likely eating at a Chinese restaurant, to which Graham answered "Great answer."

She has also had to contend with questions that stress her Upper West Side origins and her admiration of an Israeli jurist.

Expect more fireworks.

Israel’s Black Panthers Remembered

BAM film documents Mizrahi civil rights movement of the ‘70s, though inequities still resonate for Jews from Arab countries.

06/29/2010
Staff Writer

Shortly after Israel’s victory in the War of Independence, the Jewish state took in a mass exodus of Jews from Arab lands, first in 1949, and then again in 1956. 

Jews from Arab lands, called Mizrahim, came to Israel not because they were ardent Zionists, but because their host Arab countries, angered by the establishment of the State of Israel, had turned against them. 

A scene from “The Black Panthers (In Israel) Speak” shows a Mizrahi protest from the early ‘70s.

First Jewish reactions to Supreme Court gun decision

 It will be much harder for cites to regulate the firearms that are turning some neighborhoods into free-fire zones in the wake of Monday's Supreme Court decision in McDonald v. the City of Chicago, according to several Jewish groups.

In a 5-4 decision, the Justices ruled that the right to keep and bear arms can't be restricted by state and local governments, at least not easily.

The case zeros in on the nation's toughest laws, starting with Chicago, but could also affect gun restrictions in New York.

Fred Malek and the Jews: Give it up, already

Am I the only person who's really, really tired of the Fred Malek story, which resurfaces every few years when Jewish Democrats think they need some new ammo to use against their Republican foes – as if they needed any, given the fact Jews continue to vote overwhelmingly Democratic?

Okay, the guy worked for the worst anti-Semite in White House history, President Richard Nixon, and he complied when Nixon demanded a count of Jews working in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of Nixon's demented obsession with punishing his enemies.

Bat Mitzvah Firsts

05/25/2010

Is it really a surprise that Elena Kagan, likely our next Supreme Court justice, insisted on being the first girl at her Orthodox synagogue to have a bat mitzvah (“A Pioneer at Age 12,” May 14)?

Jewish Dems Petition: Drop Buchanan

05/21/2010

 (JTA) — Jewish Democrats launched a petition calling on a columnist syndicate to drop Pat Buchanan.

The National Jewish Democratic Council said a recent column by the three-time presidential candidate questioning President Obama’s pick of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court was intolerant because it made an issue of her Jewish faith.

A Pioneer At Age 12

Elena Kagan was Lincoln Square’s first bat mitzvah.

05/12/2010
Staff Writer

Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, wanted a bat mitzvah when she turned 12. But that simply was not done in May 1973 at Lincoln Square Synagogue, the Orthodox congregation to which the Kagan family belonged.

“I remember she was very definite,” recalled Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the congregation’s spiritual leader. “She came to me and very much wanted it; she was very strong about it. She wanted to recite a Haftorah like the boys, and she wanted her bat mitzvah on a Saturday morning.”

Kagan’s bat mitzvah was “watershed moment.”
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