Oh my: Documents reveal that Kagan may have helped craft legal defense of ObamaCare
posted at 9:17 pm on May 18, 2011 by Allahpundit
She won’t recuse herself, needless to say. Defending their signature domestic “achievement” when it’s under mortal threat from a constitutional challenge is much, much more important to the left than observing ethical rules. Which is why, of course, they’ve been hassling Clarence Thomas about a supposed conflict of interest in his own right vis-a-vis ObamaCare. They know Kagan is compromised, so they’re setting up a “tu quoque” rejoinder for when, not if, the GOP takes up this point in earnest.
I wonder if they know how compromised she is.
On March 21, 2010, Katyal urged Kagan to attend a health care litigation meeting that was evidently organized by the Obama White House: “This is the first I’ve heard of this. I think you should go, no? I will, regardless, but feel like this is litigation of singular importance.”
In another email exchange that took place on January 8, 2010, Katyal’s Department of Justice colleague Brian Hauck asked Katyal about putting together a group to discuss challenges to Obamacare. “Could you figure out the right person or people for that?” Hauck asked. “Absolutely right on. Let’s crush them,” Katyal responded. “I’ll speak with Elena and designate someone.”
However, following the May 10, 2010, announcement that President Obama would nominate Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, Katyal position changed significantly as he began to suggest that Kagan had been “walled off” from Obamacare discussions…
“Any reasonable person would read these documents and come to the same conclusion: Elena Kagan helped coordinate the Obama administration’s defense of Obamacare. And as long as the Justice Department continues to withhold key documents, the American people won’t know for sure whether her involvement would warrant her recusal from any Obamacare litigation that comes before the High Court,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
March 21, 2010 was the day ObamaCare passed the House and, for all intents and purposes, became law. It’s hard to believe Kagan, as solicitor general, wouldn’t have showed up for a legal strategy session held that day, let alone at any point over the previous six months as the bill was working its way through Congress. But here’s the excuse they’re going to offer the public:
On May 17, 2010, for example, Tracy Schmaler, a Department of Justice spokesperson wrote to Katyal, “Has Elena been involved in any of that to the extent SG office was consulted … ?”
“No, she has never been involved in any of it. I’ve run it for the office, and have never discussed the issues with her one bit,” was Katyal’s response. He then forwarded the correspondence to Kagan, saying “This is what I told Tracy about Health Care.”
Kagan’s response: “This needs to be coordinated. Tracy you should not say anything about this before talking to me.”
Other email chains between Kagan, White House lawyers and Vice President Joe Biden’s then-Chief of Staff Ronald Klain show a coordinated effort on how to respond to questions about the health-care law that may have arisen in the confirmation hearings.
Just so we’re straight on the timeline here: On March 21, the day ObamaCare was passed, Katyal is inviting Kagan to strategy sessions about the new law. On April 9, John Paul Stevens resigns and speculation erupts about Kagan succeeding him. On May 17, Katyal is suddenly telling people that Kagan’s never been involved in anything — even though she is, in fact, the solicitor general of the United States and even though he explicitly invited her to a meeting about the law less than two months earlier — and Kagan is warning people via e-mail to make sure everyone has their story straight on what she knew by “coordinating.” Is that about right? I want to make sure we’re all square on this nonsense for when the mandate challenge finally reaches the Court and we’re told by her office that everything is magically copacetic.