By Frank James
Whenever a president names a nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, lawyers from advocacy groups and reporters dutifully troop over to wherever documents associated with the nominee can be found in order to try and discern the would-be justice's views.
Which explains why the Associated Press is reporting Monday that Elena Kagan in as a White House adviser in 1997 recommended to President Bill Clinton that he accept a compromise with Congress that would have banned late-term abortions.
There's been some speculation that some liberals might find Kagan not to be as liberal as they'd like and this new information could likely feed such concerns.
Meanwhile, it's the kind of development that could help Kagan's supporters portray her as a centrist or moderate in the mainstream of American values. In fact, as the AP reports, Clinton who was firmly in the political middle by 1997 backed Kagan's compromise which eventually went nowhere.
As the AP reports:
Documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press show Kagan encouraging Clinton to support a compromise bill that would have banned all abortions of viable fetuses except when the health of the mother was at risk. The documents from Clinton's presidential library are among the first to surface in which Kagan discusses the thorny issue of abortion.
The proposal was a compromise by Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle. Clinton supported it, despite opposition from pro-abortion rights groups. The compromise failed and Clinton vetoed a stricter Republican ban.
What we'll be watching for now is how abortion-rights groups like Planned Parenthood react to this information.