Courts & Crime

Elena Kagan’s e-mails, before she was famous

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan, center, and Stephen Breyer, center-right, leave the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle with clergy after the annual Red Mass for Supreme Court justices in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The new Supreme Court term starts Monday.
U.S. Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan, center, and Stephen Breyer, center-right, leave the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle with clergy after the annual Red Mass for Supreme Court justices in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The new Supreme Court term starts Monday. AP

Guess what? Elena Kagan gossips. She swears, too.

Or at least she did, back before she was an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. During her time in the Clinton administration’s White House, newly public documents show, Kagan could get pretty saucy.

On May 22, 1996, for instance, the documents published Friday show, Kagan wrote Jack M. Quinn in the White House Counsel’s office. She wanted to fill Quinn in about a miscommunication involving the CNN show Crossfire.

“I realize now that I may have really f***** up,” Kagan wrote, only without hiding her words behind asterisks. The Princeton and Harvard Law School graduate later added, “God, do I feel like an idiot.”

In other cases, Kagan’s e-mails are withheld from public disclosure, though their general topic is listed.

On June 17, 1999, for instance, she sent an e-mail to fellow staffer Michael Waldman. The subject: Mazel tov. On March 10 and March 11, 1996, she sent two e-mails to vice presidential chief of staff Ron Klain with the subject matter: ambition.

Earlier, on Feb. 5, 1996, the newly released indices show, Kagan wrote two other e-mails to Klain with the subject line: gossip. A third e-mail sent that day had the subject line: jobs.

Substantively, the documents made public Friday dealt with some legal briefs, as well as questions relating to the nomination of Kagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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