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Tag: elena kagan

160,000 pages to go

Whenever a member of the Supreme Court announces retirement, and another citizen is nominated to replace one of the most important seats in government, the National Archives gets busy. The nomination of Elena Kagan is no exception.

The Clinton Presidential Library has over 160,000 pages of Kagan’s documents to sort through and provide to the Senate for confirmation. Only 5,032 pages were released by the Clinton Library for Sonia Sotomayor.

Kagan served as the Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council under President Clinton.

Documents for review weren’t always so easy to get a hold of.

The Presidential Libraries Act of 1951 put the library system under the supervision of the National Archives, but the Presidential Records Act of 1978 “changed the legal ownership of the official records of the President and Vice President from private to public” (Prologue Winter 2008) following the contentious privacy issues surrounding Nixon’s papers.

These days, as each presidency ends, print and electronic records are immediately taken from the White House into the custody of the National Archives. According to this Prologue article, “The Clinton move was the largest one ever, involving approximately 75 million pages, approximately 75,000 artifacts, and millions of audiovisual materials.”

However, the PRA act of 1978 also meant that “records withdrawn under the statutes … [ Read all ]

Elena Kagan owes Belva Lockwood

Belva Lockwood. (Photo from Library of Congress)

Belva Lockwood (Photo from Library of Congress)

If Kagan’s nomination is accepted, she will be the fourth woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. Her nomination was made possible by the trail blazed—with tremendous determination—by Lockwood.

Lockwood was the daughter of farmers, a widowed mother, and a wife who financially supported her ailing husband. She attended college after the death of her first husband, and eventually ended up in Washington, DC, where she received her law degree, taking it from the hands of President Ulysses S. Grant.

Lockwood had a long career in law in the capitol, running her own practice and trying criminal cases and handling divorces, but she also ran twice as the presidential candidate for the Equal Rights Party (Hillary Clinton owes Belva Lockwood too). Although Lockwood could not vote, she reasoned there was nothing to stop men from voting for her.

The full story of Lockwood’s life and career accomplishments is featured in this article in Prologue magazine.… [ Read all ]