Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Kagan Declines Response on Holocaust Insurers

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.

U.S. Pledges $15 Million to Auschwitz Preservation

The United States pledged $15 million to preserve the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp memorial.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the five-year pledge Saturday during a visit to Poland.

The pledge, subject to congressional approval, “illustrates the significance of the Auschwitz-Birkenau site, helps commemorate the 1.1 million victims who perished there, and demonstrates America’s commitment to Holocaust education, remembrance and research,” a State Department statement said.

The money will help fund a more than $150 million endowment aimed at preserving the site, which has fallen into disrepair.

“The United States strongly encourages other nations who have not already done so to follow suit and to contribute to the Auschwitz-Birkenau fund to preserve the site for future generations,” the statement said. “The preservation and continuation of Auschwitz-Birkenau is essential so that future generations can visit and understand how the world can never again allow a place of such hatred and persecution to exist. It is also an important educational tool to show those who doubt that the Holocaust ever existed that indeed, tragically, it did.”

More than 1 million people visit the site each year to commemorate the Holocaust.

Clinton, who is in Poland to sign a missile defense pact, made the announcement at the Schindler Factory Museum in Krakow. The museum is dedicated to Oskar Schindler, the German entrepreneur who saved 1,300 Jews during the war.

Senate Passes Shalit Resolution Unanimously

The U.S. Senate unanimously called for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit just days after the fourth anniversary of his capture by Hamas.

The non-binding resolution passed June 28, initiated by U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio), demands that “Hamas immediately and unconditionally release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit” and that the terrorist group allows “prompt access to the Israeli captives by competent medical personnel and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross.”

Gunmen affiliated with Hamas captured Shalit in a cross-border raid on June 25, 2006 after Israel had withdrawn from the territory, and have not allowed him Red Cross access.

“I am deeply troubled by the continued detention of Gilad Shalit by Hamas four years after his kidnapping, and I pray for his expeditious release and safe return to his family in Israel,” said Sen. Voinovich, who is retiring this year.

A similar resolution passed unanimously last week in the House of Representatives.

On the anniversary of Shalit’s capture, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, pledged to keep the issue alive.

“Over the past three years, I’ve met and spoken with Gilad’s father, Noam, on a number of occasions,” she said in a statement. “He has told me about the struggle to bring his son home, and I showed him his son’s symbolic dog tags displayed in my office – symbols of Gilad’s life and service, and our hopes for his survival and safe return. When I traveled to Israel, I met with the entire Shalit family and loved ones of other missing soldiers. Each time I go back to Israel and the Middle East, I take the dog tags with me, showing them to other leaders and pledging to never forget their story.”

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella body for Jewish public policy groups, lobbied hard for the resolutions.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She met imaginary people?

What else would they be doing in your brain?