Documents released Friday from the Clinton library, along with memos from her time as clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, reveal Elena Kagan as someone far to the left of the mainstream of political thought in America.
Over 46,000 pages of the nominee’s paperwork produced during her service in the Clinton White House were released from the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.
“From issues such as guns to abortion to crime control, Kagan’s memos unambiguously express a leftist philosophy and an approach to the law that seems more concerned with achieving a desired social result than fairly following the Constitution,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Ms. Kagan’s record is exceptionally thin. She has never been a judge and only practiced law for a brief period — spending much of her career as a liberal advocate.”
“And now, with the discovery of memos from Ms. Kagan’s time as a Supreme Court clerk, we know she has a demonstrated history of bringing her liberal politics into the courthouse,” Sessions added.
Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), said the documents show Kagan taking liberal positions in issues across the board.
“She helped outline an ‘aggressive strategy’ to push gun-control measures through Congress before Republicans and the NRA could object; argued that a federal law banning assisted suicide was ‘a fairly terrible idea;’ urged President Clinton to submit legislation banning reproductive cloning but permitting cloning of human tissue, including embryos; and recommended spending $400 million on climate-change issues,” Severino told HUMAN EVENTS.
The JCN analysis of the new documents shows:
1. Guns: There are many documents showing Kagan was in the loop and relevant to decisions on policy affecting gun rights. A document she co-authored with Bruce Reed told President Clinton they would be “outlining an aggressive strategy for administration officials and Democratic members of Congress to press for quick passage of our gun control proposals.” She lauded a “terrific” New York Times article that “perfectly” conveyed their intended message. It described their strategy to push gun-control legislation through as quickly as possible in the wake of the Littleton, Colo., school shootings before the National Rifle Association or Republicans could disrupt their momentum.
2. Assisted Suicide: Kagan referred to a federal law banning assisted suicide as “a fairly terrible idea.” Her notes were in the margin of a memo from Dawn Johnsen, Obama’s former nominee to head the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel, who was forced to withdraw as she proved too radical for even Senate Democrats to support.
3. Abortion: As previous documents have shown, Kagan recommended Clinton sign a partial-birth abortion ban that included Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s amendment for a health exception, despite the fact that the Clinton Justice Department had determined the law was unconstitutional on two different grounds. Kagan apparently sought to move ahead with an unconstitutional course of conduct for political reasons. She also recommended that Clinton and his Department of Health and Human Services rule that the Hyde Amendment cover all Medicare funds, thereby banning Medicare from covering abortion. This position will likely irritate pro-choice groups as it shows she is more pragmatic than principled in this area.
4. Welfare Reform: Kagan was thoroughly in the loop on welfare, with her comments marking up the major documents involved. It remains to be seen whether Kagan was personally involved with deals with unions, especially as the Clinton White House pushed to have labor standards apply to welfare-to-work.
5. Cloning: Kagan co-authored a memo with White House aide Jack Gibbons urging the President to submit legislation banning reproductive cloning but permitting the cloning of human tissue, including embryos. This batch of records makes it clear that Kagan was the head of the White House’s working group on cloning issues.
6. Climate Change: Kagan co-signed a memo with Clinton aides Bruce Reed and Gene Sperling recommending $400 million for “our broader climate change initiative (including tax incentives), this funding will go to a number of departments in accord with PCAST’s recommendations.” PCAST is the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which recommended funding for more R&D to respond to “global climactic change from society’s greenhouse-gas emissions” including carbon dioxide.
There are an estimated 120,000 more pages of Kagan documentation yet to be released by the Clinton library.
“The Clinton documents must be produced and reviewed so that we can further explore how she approaches the fundamental legal issues and controversies of our times — and whether she will uphold the Constitution as written, or whether she will apply President Obama’s empathy standard, and place her politics ahead of the law,” Sessions said.
Senate Judiciary confirmation hearings are set to begin June 28, right before the July 4th congressional recess.