Clinton Papers: Advisers Worried About Ginsburg's 'Liberal Views'

Image: Clinton Papers: Advisers Worried About Ginsburg's 'Liberal Views' Tim Sloan / Getty Images.

Monday, 21 Jul 2014 04:51 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Former President Bill Clinton's advisers were concerned Ruth Bader Ginsburg's defense of "some rather extreme liberal views" could damage her nomination to the Supreme Court, according to documents released July 18 by the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library.

Clinton was president from 1993 to 2001.

In a July 14, 1993 memo authored by then-associate counsel Ron Klain, the attorney seemed  worried that positions taken by Ginsburg, who was a former volunteer lawyer and a member of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), would meet with opposition in the Senate.

Klain, who was in charge of shepherding her nomination through the confirmation process, cautioned White House adviser David Gergen about her staunch defense of some controversial arguments made by the ACLU.

"When asked about her support for ACLU policies to legalize prostitution, decriminalize the distribution of pornography to minors, decriminalize marijuana, and ban the death penalty, Judge Ginsburg has a strong tendency to defend the ACLU position," Klain wrote.

The newly-released documents are part of the sixth batch of Clinton administration records made public to date.

With Democratic control of the Senate in peril, some liberals have advocated behind-the-scenes for Ginsburg to retire so Obama can appoint her successor.

"There are a lot of people who think that Ginsburg should resign so that Obama could appoint someone new and should do it sooner rather than later," Mike Lux, a Democratic strategist, told The Hill.

A separate memo written in 1998 referred to current Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as a nominee who posed "more problems than any of the other Hispanic judges sitting on the federal bench."

At the time Sotomayor was being considered for a position on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

And another memo in the batch involved religion and school prayer in which adviser George Stephanopoulos counsels that Clinton should firm up his position out of concern that an upcoming conference "could be dominated — in terms of discussion and press coverage — by religion and school prayer unless the Administration clarifies its position."

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