Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy on Tuesday grew visibly angry when asked by The Daily Caller whether he planned to insist that the White House turn over writings by Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan from her time working in the Clinton White House.
“I haven’t even thought about what I’m going to do,” Leahy said at first.
When pressed about the importance of mining memos from her four years at the White House to gain insight into her thinking on judicial philosophy and policy matters, Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, became testy.
“I’ll tell you what. I think what is important is for you to let me run the hearing and we’ll let you know,” he said.
“I think it would be grandstanding on my part to try to tell you what I want to do before I even talk to the nominee,” Leahy added.
When questioned a third time, Leahy shot back: “Maybe you ought to chair the hearing,” before turning and walking into an elevator.
Kagan worked in the White House counsel’s office from 1995 to 1997 and was deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council from 1997 to 1999. Her memos are housed in Arkansas at the Clinton Library.
The White House has said they will not simply hand over Kagan’s writings.
In 2005, when President George W. Bush, a Republican, nominated John Roberts to be chief justice, a Republican Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter, threatened to subpoena Roberts’s writings from his time at the White House under President Ronald Reagan as well as from his time at the Justice Department.
The Bush White House produced the memos.