Kagan: “There are three Jews on the court, but nobody talks about that. It doesn’t matter, times have changed.”

October 20th, 2011

“I don’t think the fact I’m Jewish will matter with respect to the Jerusalem passport case, and it shouldn’t, ” she said. “Anyone who comes before the court should expect impartial justice, and getting the same kind of treatment.”

Kagan deflected suggestions the court’s religious makeup — three Jews and six Catholics — would somehow undermine public confidence.

“It sometimes requires effort to put your feelings aside,” she said. “We are all the sum of our experiences, but we (justices) all understand the role of the judge is to step back from any personal proclivities and look just at interpreting the law.”

And Kagan thinks of herself as a “wandering jew.

Kagan herself grew up in the west side of Manhattan, and describes her family’s religious journey as “wandering Jews.” “My mother never really found a rabbi she liked, so we joined several synagogues when I was growing up: Conservative, Reform, modern Orthodox.”

Kagan also revealed how she went shooting and hunting with Nino!

She recalled paying a courtesy call on Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Maryland, who is a member of Beth Tfiloh, shortly after her nomination to the court by President Barack Obama in May 2010. Cardin asked her about gun rights, and remarked she may not realize how important the issue is to some Americans.

She admitted never having owned or fired a gun before. “But I told Sen. Cardin if I was fortunate enough to be confirmed, I would go hunting with Justice Scalia.”

And she has, joining her conservative colleague on an excursion to a Washington-area shooting range and on several hunting trips, until now never reported. Her host at the synagogue event was surprised.

“You’re Jewish,” deadpanned Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg.

“Yeah, but it turns out, it’s kind of fun,” said Kagan, laughing.