By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Concerns raised by lawmakers last week and an anti-abortion group today about the availability of memos of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan stored in Bill Clinton’s Little Rock library are being eased by the nation’s top archivist who promises to provide them in time for her confirmation hearing.
National Archivist David Ferriero said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the National Archives, which operates presidential libraries, has a good track record of searching for the kinds of documents the committee is looking for and providing them fast.
He was responding to concerns raised when a Clinton library official said it would be “very difficult” to find and reproduce documents linked to Kagan when she worked as a Clinton lawyer and domestic policy adviser in the 1990s. Today, the anti-abortion group, Americans United for Life, sent the committee and Senate leaders including Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a letter demanding that the late June confirmation hearings be delayed until the library can deliver the documents.
At issue: Since Kagan has never been a judge and written opinions, the importance of past writings has been elevated by those trying to determine her political and philosophical leanings.
The Archivist said that the Kagan documents kept at the Clinton library will start arriving electronically June 4, greatly relieving many of those involved in reviewing Kagan’s past on the committee staff.
A spokesman for Americans United for Life says the group isn’t satisfied with the archivists’ promise to deliver all the documents by the hearing date, arguing that staffers won’t have enough time to review those that come in late. Matthew Faraci says, “The challenge is that staffers need time to actually go through and read all of them.”