Elena Kagan's Clinton Years

The New York Times is poring over 46,700 newly released pages of documents from Elena Kagan's stint working in the Clinton administration to determine her views on hot button issues—and the results are slim pickings so far. The strongest opinion from Kagan was a scribbled note calling a proposal to make assisted suicide a federal crime "a fairly terrible idea" in 1998. Other notes in the margin paint Kagan as a centrist pragmatist in the mold as the Clinton administration, trying to avoid confrontation on a number of controversial issues like affirmative action and abortion. At one point, documents suggest she proposed tightening gun restrictions in 1997 ahead of a Supreme Court case on whether legislating background checks on gun buyers was unconstitutional. The digging has only begun, however: The Times says the documents are only the first to be released of roughly 160,000 pages requested by the Senate Judiciary Committee.