JULY 14, 2009
Although Barack Obama chastised Bill Clinton during the presidential primary for withholding crucial files from Hillary’s disastrous healthcare task force, he supports the former commander-in-chief’s decision to withhold hundreds of documents relating to Sonia Sotomayor’s 1990s appeals court confirmation battle.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from various media outlets, the Clinton Presidential Library recently posted thousands of documents relating to the 1997 nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, but crucial files were purposely excluded.
The omitted documents are said to include revealing memos between Clinton White House officials about Sotomayor as well as early drafts and answers to questions posed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to one of the newspapers that requested the information. There were also files related to Sotomayor’s health, finances and FBI background check.
The excluded information certainly seems more relevant and important than the mundane stuff that was promptly made public. Those documents mainly feature previously publicized information such as Sotomayor’s judicial opinions as a district court judge, press releases, past speeches and reports as well as a plethora of letters sent to the White House by supporters. Basically, lot’s of puff.
Clinton gets to keep the juicy stuff private by invoking a measure that allows a president to essentially hide from the public information about his administration for the first 12 years after leaving office. The former president could however, issue a waiver or direct a representative to allow the archives to release the material sooner.
When Hillary was still going strong in the last presidential primary, Obama called on Bill to issue such a waiver relating to the cabinet-level National Taskforce on Health Care Reform chaired by the former First Lady. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to obtain the documents, which are archived at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Bill opted to keep the files from the public however, and Camp Obama went to town speculating what the famous First Couple could be hiding. So far, Obama has made no such accusation regarding his Supreme Court nominee while Americans undoubtedly wonder.
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