OU, Reform weigh in on Kagan

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Two major Jewish religious groups weighed in on Elana Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

The Orthodox Union, while noting that it does not endorse nominees, said in a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that it found Kagan’s record "encouraging."

It noted her repudiation in confirmation hearings of her 1987 memo, when she clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, rejecting any government funding for faith-based charities providing social services.

The OU also noted memos she wrote, as a domestic adviser to President Clinton, backing religious freedoms in the workplace.

"Ms. Kagan has demonstrated a reassuring appreciation for the rights guaranteed by the Free-Exercise clause and a growing respect for a balanced approach to the Establishment Clause which allows for appropriate government support for the work of religious organizations," the letter said.

The Reform movement, meantime, forwarded to the members of the Judiciary Committee what it considered to be the most compelling questions it solicited from its membership on a website, AskElanaKagan.com.

"What limits does the Establishment Clause place on government funding that flows to faith-based organizations?" was one question.

"Do states have a right to define marriage as solely between a man and a woman?  What should be the Federal role concerning marriage?" was another. 

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