News & Politics

SCOTUS Watch: Waiting-for-Confirmation Edition

Until June 28, Elena Kagan watchers have to content themselves with e-mail dumps and records of her time as a clerk

Is it June 28 yet? Because the final days leading up to the start date of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings are really dragging. Here are some interesting tidbits to mull over the weekend. But seriously, bring on those hearings!

The gargantuan document dump of memos and other papers from Kagan’s early career has so far turned up little of consequence. Maybe the release of 80,000 pages of e-mails later today will reveal something a bit juicier?

That’s not to say we haven’t learned anything from the paper trail. We now know, for instance, that as associate counsel in the White House, Kagan played a key role in defending President Clinton’s claim of attorney-client privilege when the Senate committee investigating Whitewater demanded notes from a meeting between his lawyers.

We’ve also learned about her time as a Supreme Court clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall, including her thoughts on whether the high court should have heard a harrowing case involving a five-year-old boy beaten to the point of permanent brain damage by his father.

Kagan, by the way, will be only the sixth justice to have clerked on the high court if she’s confirmed. And though some Republicans are making hay over her memos advising Justice Marshall on whether to take certain cases, the documents don’t necessarily reveal much about Kagan’s personal views.

Finally, the Hill brings us a fun interview with a former Harvard Law student who remembers Kagan as a “super nice” professor. It’s a good thing for Kagan, because he’s now a legislative staffer aiding Senator John Kerry in moving her nomination through the Senate.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 and was a senior editor until 2022.