In the nearly 160,000 pages of recently released documents that relate to Elena Kagan, precious little appears about Paula Jones — even though Kagan was intimately involved in President Clinton’s sexual harassment lawsuit in her capacity in the White House Counsel’s office. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) today had something to say about that.
“The people who decide which documents we get are representatives of President Clinton and President Obama,” Sessions told bloggers in a preview to the Kagan confirmation hearings to bloggers. “Would President Clinton want to release something that could cast him in a bad light? Or would President Obama want to release something that could embarrass his nominee?”
Sessions is not the only person to speculate why representatives of Clinton and the White House decided to withhold for privacy reasons more than 1,500 pages of Kagan documents — the pages that include most details about Kagan’s work on the Jones scandal, according to an Associated Press article.
“It is hard to fathom how that many pages could be legitimately withheld,” said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice. “That leaves incompetence … or a bias against release or something more malevolent as the likely reasons for the large amount of information withheld.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee should have had some way to examine the unreleased documents, Sessions said — and Levey agrees. Days before the confirmation hearings began, Levey suggested Judiciary Committee members be allowed to view the documents “in camera” — that is, “in a room where they could see but not copy or leave with the documents.”
Unfortunately, the Judiciary Committee never had that opportunity. And, now, it’s too late.
“A thorough review of Kagan’s record will not be possible unless Republican senators resolve to use the filibuster or similar procedures in the Judiciary Committee,” Levey said.
Republicans, of course, have said they don’t plan to filibuster, although Sessions said today he still doesn’t understand why his own Republican colleagues voluntarily took that option off the table.
If Republicans care to comprehensively examine Kagan, they might reconsider it. After all, as Sessions said, those who were responsible for the release of the Kagan documents aren’t exactly “objective gatekeepers.”
Cross-posted on the Washington Examiner’s Opinion Zone.