*As a Clinton White House counsel, Solicitor General Elena Kagan said she felt it was best to let doctors decide when a “so-called partial-birth [abortion] procedure” was necessary.
But the now-Supreme Court nominee also sided with a landlady who refused to rent to unmarried couples based on her religious belief that sex outside of marriage was wrong.
“The plurality’s reasoning seem to me quite outrageous,” Kagan wrote in a 1996 memo regarding the California Supreme Court’s then-recent ruling against the landlady.
While the divided court found the actions of landlady Evelyn Smith to be in violation of a state law prohibiting housing discrimination, Kagan made clear that she would have ruled otherwise, arguing against the court’s suggestion that a state law does not impose a substantial burden on religion because the complainant was free to move to another state.
“Taken seriously, this kind of reasoning could strip RFRA (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act) of any real meaning,” she wrote.
“[G]iven the importance of this issue to the President and danger this decision poses to RFRA’s guarantee of religious freedom in the State of California, I think there is an argument to be made for urging the [U.S. Supreme] Court to review and reverse the decision,” she added.
The 1996 memo part of a roughly 40,000-page trove of documents released by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library on Friday that shed more light on what kind of justice Kagan might be.
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