NEW YORK – Government funds must not be granted to any religious organizations seeking to prevent teen pregnancies, since such groups may “inject” religious teaching, argued Elena Kagan, President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court.
However, WND has learned that when questioned during Senate hearings earlier this year about her argument – made in a 1987 legal brief – Kagan reversed course and called her own memo “the dumbest thing I ever read.”
“It would be difficult for any religious organization to participate in such projects without injecting some kind of religious teaching,” wrote Kagan in the brief.
She continued: “The government is of course right that religious organizations are different and that these differences are sometimes relevant for the purposes of government funding. … But when the government funding is to be used for projects so close to the central concerns of religion, all religious organizations should be off limits.”
Kagan authored the memo while clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall. The case was filed in response to a Supreme Court decision that reversed a lower court ruling allowing religious groups that help prevent teen pregnancies to receive government funds through the Adolescent Family Life Act.
The case centered on a religiously affiliated group that provided pregnancy testing, adoption counseling, educational services and childcare.
The Supreme Court had ruled the act did not require grantees be affiliated with religious groups, “although the Act clearly does not rule out grants to religious organizations.”
Kagan, however, took issue with the Supreme Court to argue religious groups should never receive government funds under the act.
Her memo could have been a surefire point of controversy for her nomination to the Supreme Court.
However, asked about her memo in February 2009 Senate confirmation hearings for her nomination as solicitor general, she called her 1987 argument “the dumbest thing I ever read.”
Continued Kagan in Senate testimony reviewed by WND: “I indeed believe that my 22-year old analysis, written for Justice Marshall, was deeply mistaken. It seems now utterly wrong to me to say that religious organizations generally should be precluded from receiving funds for providing the kinds of services contemplated by the Adolescent Family Life Act.”