Survivors want answers from Kagan


David Schaecter, president of the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA, and Esther Toporek Finder, president of The Generation After, have an op-ed in The Miami Herald slamming the Obama administration’s Justice Department for aguing that U.S. courts shouldn’t take up a case involving a European insurance company and World War II-era claims involving Holocaust victims and their heirs.

And they want answers from Elena Kagan:

One of the officials responsible for the administration’s bias toward the insurers was Solicitor General Elena Kagan, now President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. If so, shouldn’t she be required to give her reasons before being elevated to such a powerful lifetime position? If the decision was made by a lower-level appointee or bureaucrat, did senior officials such as Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden or President Obama approve the decision? As Americans we are entitled to know.

Most people do not realize that half the Holocaust survivors in the United States live near or below the poverty line. Rather than ask for charity and take away needed resources from other Americans, survivors and heirs should be able to recover the proceeds of policies they are legitimately entitled to. It is unconscionable that our government is allowing these insurance giants to enjoy such unjust enrichment.

In his opening statement at Kagan’s confirmation hearing, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) said that he planned to take ask her about the issue:

I was concerned about your decisions as solicitor general on the case involving the Holocaust victims suing an Italian insurance company, and the Second Circuit bows to the executive position, saying, well, that ought to be decided between Italy and the United States on how that’s to be handled. I think that’s wrong. But at least the Supreme Court ought to decide it.

And asked he did on Wednesday. But Kagan declined to answer, saying it would be inappropriate.

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