WASHINGTON — The White House on Saturday asked Bill Clinton's presidential library to speed the release of more than 160,000 pages of paper, including e-mail, in its possession from Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's tenure as a Clinton adviser in the 1990s.
In a letter to the U.S. archivist, White House counsel Bob Bauer said he was requesting the expedited release to aid the Senate's review of Kagan's nomination. Kagan currently is the U.S. solicitor general.
Kagan has never been a judge and has only appeared in court as a litigant since becoming solicitor general, the administration's top Supreme Court lawyer. As a result, she has not created a lengthy paper trail of court opinions and legal briefs that lawmakers typically examine to assess a nominee's legal acumen or ideology.
Republican lawmakers seeking clues about what kind of justice Kagan, 50, would be are eager to see the papers. With its request Saturday, the White House stood ready to help make that happen as soon as possible.
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The library, run by the National Archives, was expected to release Kagan's papers this summer.
Kagan served in the Clinton White House from 1995-1999. She would succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
Bauer requested records from her service as an associate counsel, approximately 30,000 pages; records from her service as a domestic policy adviser, approximately 50,000 pages; and records related to her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Senate never acted on that nomination.
Bauer also requested all e-mail Kagan sent and received, approximately 79,000 pages.
Of the batch of documents, Bauer wrote that "their availability, on an expedited schedule, is necessary to afford the Senate a reasonable opportunity to evaluate Ms. Kagan's nomination."
Endorsement from NAACP
The NAACP gave its backing Saturday to Kagan, voting unanimously at a board meeting in Florida to endorse her.
The NAACP's president, Benjamin Jealous, told The Associated Press that the group initially was concerned because Kagan had little direct evidence or a record that she would actively promote civil rights. Many were worried that she might have an overly expansive view of executive power at the expense of individual liberties, and the group also had hoped to see a black woman appointed to the high court.
The National Action Network and its board of directors also endorsed her nomination. Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the organization, said Kagan "is worthy of the support of the civil rights community."
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