Some commentators have suggested that Elena Kagan is a nominee without much of a paper trail. I think this is overstated on two counts. First, her academic writing is more substantive than some have given her credit for (see here and here). Second, there appears to be a substantial amount of material from her time in the Clinton Adminsitration for the Senate Judiciary Committee to review. Documents from her tenure at the Domestic Policy Council have already been released. As Byron York reports, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more documents from her time in the White House Counsel’s office — documents Senators are certain to demand, citing the release of papers from John Roberts tenure in the Reagan Administration as precedent. These records will shed more light on Kagan’s approach to legal and policy questions, even if they don’t reveal how she is likely to approach (let alone vote upon) specific issues.
UPDATE: Politico reports:
The Clinton Presidential Library is facing a mammoth task to prepare for confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan: processing about 160,000 pages of records from Kagan’s time as a lawyer and policy adviser in the Clinton White House.
The staggering page count comes from a letter President Barack Obama’s White House Counsel Bob Bauer sent Saturday to Archivist David Ferriero, asking that the Archives expedite release of the files so the Senate can have them to consider Kagan’s nomination.
“I understand that preparing these 160,000 pages for public release will require very significant efforts,” Bauer wrote. “Their availability, on an expedited schedule, is necessary to afford the Senate a reasonable opportunity to evaluate Ms. Kagan’s nomination.”