A.j. Congress Rejects Concept of ‘jewish Seat’ on Court, Tells Why It Opposes Haynsworth

The American Jewish Congress today rejected the concept of a “Jewish seat” on the U.S. Supreme Court and criticized Sen. Ernest A. Hollings, Democrat from South Carolina. “for injecting the ‘Jewish question’ into the debate over Federal Judge Clement F. Haynsworth’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”

Shad Polier, chairman of the organization’s national governing council, declared in a telegram to Sen. Hollings, “Quite apart from any consideration of the charges of conflict of interest against Judge Haynsworth, the American Jewish Congress has vigorously opposed his nomination to the Supreme Court. We do so not because he has been named for any ‘Jewish seat’ but because we oppose his judicial philosophy.

“Neither race nor religion nor national origin should enter into consideration in choosing a member of the country’s highest tribunal.” Mr. Polier declared, “You have been quoted in the New York Times as declaring that Jewish circles were raising extraneous issues, including the ‘Jewish question,’ and that Judge Haynsworth is being opposed by Jewish groups because, presumably, ‘Brandeis, Cardozo and Goldberg used to have a seat,’ now ‘Haynsworth’s got it,’ and ‘Jews don’t like it.’

“As an organization of American Jews, we in the A.J. Congress would of course take pride in the appointment of a Jew to the bench. But we reject the concept of a ‘Jewish seat’ and we are committed to the idea that the sole qualification for membership on the Supreme Court shall be merit…

“We think no good purpose is served in injecting the ‘Jewish question’ into the debate over his nomination, Mr. Polier said.

Judge Haynsworth was nominated by President Richard M. Nixon to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of former Associate Justice Abe Fortas. The nomination was endorsed by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week and is to be voted on by the full Senate.

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