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Lautenberg slams Buchanan over essay on Kagan’s faith
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Lautenberg slams Buchanan over essay on Kagan’s faith

Patrick Buchanan asked if President Obama’s choice of Elana Kagan — who would be the third Jew on the Supreme Court — represented “the Democrats’ idea of diversity.” Photo by Rbsrock/Commons.wikimedia.org
Patrick Buchanan asked if President Obama’s choice of Elana Kagan — who would be the third Jew on the Supreme Court — represented “the Democrats’ idea of diversity.” Photo by Rbsrock/Commons.wikimedia.org

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) slammed syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan for his “outrageous” remarks about the nomination of a Jewish woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In his May 14 syndicated column, Buchanan criticized President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to replace John Paul Stevens, a liberal stalwart who is retiring at 90.

“If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats. Is this the Democrats’ idea of diversity?” Buchanan wrote.

“It is outrageous that Mr. Buchanan is using Elena Kagan’s religion as kindling to enflame opposition to her nomination to the Supreme Court,” Lautenberg said in a statement. “Elena Kagan was chosen by President Obama because of her ability and knowledge, and Mr. Buchanan’s comments undermine her significant legal achievements.

“It sounds like Mr. Buchanan longs for the days when religious quotas kept people out of high-ranking positions in government.”

A New York City native, Kagan, 50, is currently the U.S. solicitor general and a former dean of Harvard Law School.

The Anti-Defamation League, responding to the column, called Buchanan “a recidivist anti-Semite who doesn’t miss an opportunity to show his fangs.”

“His remarks about the Jewish background of Elena Kagan and the religious makeup of the Supreme Court are bigoted and unacceptable in a pluralistic society such as ours,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement issued May 15.

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