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Kagan declines response on Holocaust insurers

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Elena Kagan refused to answer whether she would consider as a U.S. Supreme Court judge a suit brought by Holocaust survivors against insurers.

The lawsuit, mirrored by legislation under consideration in Congress, seeks to reopen the process under which the insurers paid out on Holocaust-era claims.

In confirmation hearings Wednesday, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) asked Kagan, the solicitor general, whether she would take on the case. Kagan has said in testimony that she considers the court’s current intake of about 80 cases per 800 applications each session to be low.

In this instance, however, Kagan declined to answer, noting that as solicitor general she may have to represent the government, which has resisted reopening the case. She has similarly declined to answer in other cases she may have to handle in her current role.

The Bush and Obama administrations have said that the process, governed by the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, included guarantees to the participating governments that there would be no further action.

Courts, citing executive branch foreign policy prerogatives, have traditionally deferred to foreign policy considerations and declined to consider similar cases.

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