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SG Kagan’s Records From the Clinton White House

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A rolling release of SG Kagan’s papers from her time in the White House Counsel’s office papers is scheduled to begin today. Check here for their posting. Her papers from her time in the domestic policy shop are already online.

Mike Allen suggests that there won’t be much controversy as “the documents reflect her advice to the president, not her personal views.” This is almost certainly true, but based on my time in that office I know there are occasions when a lawyer can and sometimes does express his or her view of a particular issue of constitutional law. That’s to be expected in fact, and 95% of the time, those opinions will be routine. I don’t expect a smoking gun, or anything except high quality attorney-client work product.

But just as the files of Chief Justice Roberts were combed through with a magnifying glass, so ought these papers to be carefully scrutinized for whatever they can tell the Committee and the full Senate about the SG and the judicial philosophy she will bring to her lifetime appointment.

There will be boxes and boxes of docs. Let’s hope the Senate GOP uses the web to enlist the legion of serious lawyers they will need to examine the papers in some sort of coherent fashion.



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