Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

January 12, 2006

The Rabbinical Assembly weighs in

The Conservative movement's rabbinical arm is urging Senate Judiciary Committee chair Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) not to confirm judges "on the basis of their opposition to reproductive freedom of conscience for women."

In a letter to Specter, the Rabbinical Assembly said it sees Roe v. Wade "as settled constitutional law and any future Supreme Court nominees may reasonable [sic] be expected to apply the fundamental constitutional guarantees of Roe v. Wade fairly and objectively," states the letter.

It also notes that "our religious beliefs teach us that issues such as termination of pregnancy are best made between individuals and their clergy."

Washington Jewish Week, second item

Dear Senator Specter,

We apologize for writing again, but we feel it's important to express once again our profound concern that judges not be confirmed who might alter settled law.

For example, in our view, the Supreme Court's 20-year-old decision in Goldman v. Weinberger (1986), which rejected a Jewish Air Force officer's free-exercise claim to wear a yarmulke, is settled law and should not be changed by radicals appointed to the court by this President.

As you know, the Conservative Movement, of which this Rabbinical Assembly is a part, cannot tolerate, and is adamantly opposed to, overturning settled law. That is why, as you are undoubtedly aware, we do not allow mixed seating in our Conservative synagogues; we do not allow women to be counted toward a minyan; and we accept nothing but Orthodox conversions.

We believe there is nothing as important to Conservative Judaism as preventing the American people from considering whether any limits on unrestricted abortion are desirable. Judaism espouses an absolute right to abort a fetus until it graduates from medical school in its 79th trimester. Treating a fetus as deserving of any legal protection whatsoever represents an establishment of religion, just as surely as the laws prohibiting murder and kidnaping breach the wall between church and state. Issues such as whether one person has the absolute right to kill another are best decided by individuals in consultation with their clergy.

We are gravely concerned that allowing fanatics to attain positions in which they can affirm such fatwas is detrimental to everything we hold important.

Sincerely yours,
The Rabbinical Assembly