Clinton Library Releases 2nd Batch of Kagan Files

     (CN) – The William J. Clinton Presidential Library on Friday released 42,000 more pages of memos and notes on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. In some documents from her time as the former president’s aide, Kagan pushed for a broader interpretation of religious freedom over state anti-discrimination laws.

     The files mainly stem from Kagan’s work as a White House domestic policy adviser in 1995 and 1996.
     In one memo from 1996, Kagan wrote that it was “quite outrageous” for a landlord to be forced to rent an apartment to an unwed couple if doing so violated the landlord’s religious beliefs.
     Kagan objected to the California Supreme Court’s ruling that the landlord had violated a state anti-discrimination law by refusing to rent to the unmarried couple. Specifically, she took issue with the stance of a plurality of justices who said the state housing law did not “substantially burden” the landlord’s religious freedom, because the landlord could make money another way.
     “The plurality’s reasoning seem to me quite outrageous – almost as if a court were to hold that a state law does not impose a substantial burden on religion because the complainant is free to move to another state,” Kagan wrote. “Taken seriously, this kind of reasoning could strip [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] of any real meaning.”
     The Supreme Court has since largely struck down the law, which was passed in 1993 in response to another high court ruling allowing states to penalize people for using peyote, even as part of religious rituals.
     Though the newly released documents do not necessarily represent Kagan’s personal views, as she represented the Clinton administration at the time, they are being scrutinized in lieu of a judicial record. Kagan has never served as a judge.
     Republicans worry that Kagan, now the U.S. solicitor general, is too much of an unknown with a thin record to join the nation’s top court.
     The documents released Friday followed 46,500 pages released on June 4. One more batch is expected to be released by the Clinton Library before Kagan’s confirmation hearings begin June 28.

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