Press Release May 10, 2010

SBC’s Richard Land calls senators to challenge Kagan’s position on First Amendment

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission comments on President Barack Obama’s appointment of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

“First of all, let me say that as a Princeton graduate (class of ’69) I applaud the recent bipartisan trend of nominating Princeton graduates to the nation’s highest court. Elena Kagan (class of ’81) makes three Supreme Court nominees in a row, following President Bush’s nomination of Justice Samuel Alito (class of ‘72) and President Obama’s nomination of Justice Sotomayor (class of ’76). Add those nominations to Michelle Obama (class of ’85) being Princeton’s first First Lady and you have quite a streak for Old Nassau.

“Ms. Kagan’s nomination, however, will be considered controversial for several reasons. First, her lack of judicial experience will be an issue. She is the first Supreme Court nominee in 38 years without previous judicial experience.

“However, social conservatives should focus on her role as dean of Harvard Law School in barring ROTC from campus during the Iraq war because of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, which she described as “a moral injustice of the first order.” She wrote an email message to students and faculty declaring, ‘I abhor the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy.’

“In 2004 she signed an amicus brief when a coalition of law schools challenged the Solomon Amendment which denied federal funds to schools that barred military recruiters. She then joined Harvard University and 39 fellow law school professors in calling for the Supreme Court to reject the Solomon Amendment. She and her fellow professors were rebuffed by an 8-0 Supreme Court decision in late 2006.

“Given this strong hint of activism on behalf of gay rights and the fact that she has been recommended by a President committed to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered agenda, she should be questioned extensively on the issue.

“Just how radical is she on these issues? Ms. Kagan should be asked whether she agrees with Georgetown law professor Chai Feldblum’s assertion that when the relative rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered (LGBT) people and other people’s religious beliefs conflict and collide legally, ‘society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.’

“Professor Feldblum, given a recess appointment by President Obama to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on April 7, 2010, went on to state that ‘Protecting one group’s identity liberty, may, at times, require that we burden others’ belief liberty.’ Does Ms. Kagan agree with Feldblum’s views, as stated in ‘Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion’ (Georgetown Law Faculty Publications, January 2010, originally published in Brooklyn Law Review, 2006), where she also declares that the law should ‘not privilege moral beliefs that are religiously based over other sincerely held core, moral beliefs.’

“Anybody remember the First Amendment?

“Every U.S. Senator given the opportunity should ask Solicitor General Kagan that question, and until they receive an answer that repudiates Professor Feldblum’s First Amendment-denying legal philosophy, they should refuse to confirm her to the highest court in the land.”

_The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.2 million members in over 44,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C._

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