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Breyer is Confirmed by Senate; Becomes Second Jew on Current Court

Judge Stephen Breyer, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was confirmed by the Senate last week by an overwhelming majority, will join Ruth Bader Ginsburg this fall as the second Jewish justice to sit on the high court.

Many Jewish groups backed Breyer’s nomination, noting his pro-choice position on abortion, and strong support for the separation of church and state and the protection of religious minorities.

Michael Lieberman, associate director and counsel of the Washington office of the Anti-Defamation League, was “heartened” that Breyer “demonstrated good sensibilities” regarding the separation between church and state and the protection of religious minorities.

Although once on the Supreme Court, many justices have moved away from what they said in their confirmation testimony, Lieberman welcomed Breyer’s “explicit answers” on religious issues and abortion, which Breyer said is “settled law.”

Richard Foltin, legislative director and counsel for the American Jewish Committee, said that although the group does not take positions on such nominations, he was “encouraged and pleased” with Breyer’s confirmation.

Breyer, who will replace retiring Justice Harry Blackmun, has the “judicial temperament and appropriate perspective” on church-state issues and abortion and “seems to espouse very reasonable points of view,” said Foltin.

There was no significant opposition to Breyer in the Senate on ideological grounds.

The vote there was 87-9 in favor of confirmation.