Kagan's e-mails go public as hearings approach

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ever wish you could rifle through a public figure’s e-mail?
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s e-mails are about to go public as part of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s preparations for her confirmation hearings next week.
The William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., released approximately 80,000 pages of e-mails Friday — about 11,000 of them written by Kagan.
It’s the final installment of documents related to her service as a domestic policy aide and White House counsel to former President Bill Clinton.
It’s the third week in a row the files will be made public on a Friday afternoon — the customary time in official Washington for dribbling out unfavorable information or disclosures one hopes won’t draw too much attention.
Another roughly 80,000 pages of paper files already have been released, revealing Kagan’s role in managing the scandals of the Clinton administration, her pragmatic streak dealing with complex issues such as a massive tobacco regulation measure and her political instincts weighing in on hot-button issues such as abortion, gun control and drug sentencing.
The White House and Clinton have opted to keep a small fraction of the information private, allowing only Judiciary panel members and their top aides to see it.
But the 160,000 pages of information is far more than the committee received for other recent high court nominees.
The Judiciary panel is scheduled to begin confirmation hearings on Kagan on June 28. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the committee chairman, said he doesn’t foresee postponing the hearings despite Republicans’ complaints that the timetable won’t give them sufficient time to review Kagan’s record.
He expects a confirmation vote in July by the full Senate.
He thinks Kagan was right when she wrote in the 1990s that Supreme Court nominees should be more forthcoming but doesn’t expect her to be during his hearings, he said in an interview Thursday.
“She was right in saying we should get more information,” Leahy said in remarks scheduled to air Sunday on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program. But “I would suspect that it will be difficult to get really specific information.”
At the end of the day, Leahy added, “you still have to make some kind of a guess” about what kind of justice a nominee will be.

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