Senate Panel Ok’s Souter As Judge on Supreme Court

The Senate Judiciary Committee by a 13-1 vote Thursday recommended that the Senate confirm federal Judge David Souter as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) said he could not support the nomination because of concern that the 51-year-old New Hampshire native would not protect individual rights and freedoms.

Only two Jewish organizations have publicly opposed the nomination, the National Council of Jewish Women and the American Jewish Congress.

Joan Bronk, president of the National Council of Jewish Women, testified before the committee that her organization was concerned about Souter’s refusal to discuss his view on abortion and his “vagueness” on equality for women.

The AJCongress, in a hand-delivered letter to Biden on Tuesday, urged him to recall Souter to have him clarify his views on “privacy and reproductive rights.”

The only other Jewish group to take a public stand was Agudath Israel of America, which praised Souter last week for a decision he made while on the New Hampshire Supreme Court that supports a doctor’s right to refuse to engage in medical practices to which he has a religious objection.

There was no indication Thursday whether the full Senate would act on the nomination in time for Souter to take his seat on the Supreme Court when it begins its fall session Monday.

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