As a lawyer in the Clinton adminstration, Elena Kagan was in the loop on a wide array of domestic policy issues, from abortion to education, health, consumer protection and immigration, according to a massive collection of Clinton-era documents made available on-line this afternoon by the Clinton Presidential Library.
Supporters and opponents of Kagan's nomination to the U.S. Surpeme Court will be combing through the more than 46,000 pages of material for clues to Kagan's judicial philosophy before her Senate confirmation hearings start June 28.
A quick sampling of the material turned up very few memos that Kagan wrote personally. However, she did co-write a 1997 memo on abortion policy, in response to a question from President Clinton about "whether the so-called partial-birth procedure is ever necesary to save the life of a woman." At the time, Republicans were trying to ban the procedure. The memo cites conflicting evidence, then advises Clinton to insist on "an exception for women who need the procedure to prevent serious harm."
The memo also offers some practical advice: "The uncertainties surrounding this issue, however, caution against your making any estimates of the number of women whose health, without this procedure, would be at risk of serious harm. Any such estimates, however large or small, would be difficult to support."
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.