By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
One of the nation's most prominent anti-abortion groups is seeking a delay in the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in order to provide the Clinton library time to find and make public her key writings while a White House lawyer and later domestic policy aide.
Americans United for Life, which is fast becoming one of the leading foes of Kagan, currently the U.S. Solicitor General, believes the documents in the Little Rock, Ark., library are important because President Obama's pick has no judicial experience and thus no written opinions from which to determine her political leanings. [See a slide show of the current members of the Supreme Court.]
In a letter to Judiciary Chairman Sen. Pat Leahy and others, AUL President Charmaine Yoest wrote: "We are deeply concerned that the Senate Judiciary Committee will have insufficient time to review Elena Kagan's record before commencing her hearing on June 28, 2010. Therefore, we request that you provide whatever time is needed for members to thoroughly prepare for the hearing, even if it requires postponing the hearing date." [See which industries contribute the most to Leahy's campaign.]
The letter was prompted when the director of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum last week said it would be very difficult to find and turn over to the committee documents related to Kagan's time at the White House.
Yoest said that the documents are important because Kagan has kept her political and philosophical leanings to herself, something judges can't do since they write opinions. Groups like hers are worried that she may be more liberal, especially on abortion issues, than supporters are suggesting.
"We are Americans United for Life, like most Americans, believe that a nominee's judicial philosophy goes to the heart of his or her qualifications to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Because Solicitor General Kagan has not served as a judge, and consequently there are no judicial decisions to review, it is critical that committee members be given ample time to review the documents she produced while serving in the executive branch, and thoroughly question her about those writings in order to understand the philosophy she would bring to the court," wrote Yoest.
So far, the committee majority has not indicated a willingness to delay the start of the hearings.