Judging Ginsburg: Newly-public Clinton documents show White House not keen on Supreme Court justice

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg was “laconic” and openly hostile to the confirmation process, according to a top White House aide tasked with vetting the then-candidate for a seat on the country’s most prestigious court.

A July 14, 1993 memo titled “Judge Ginsburg: Performance Pitfalls” was among the 1,000 documents released Friday by the National Archives.

Some of the issues laid out in the memo from White House counsel Ronald Klain to top President Clinton adviser David Gergen were Ginsburg’s “stalwart defense” of the American Civil Liberties Unions, “disdain” for the confirmation process and her reported failure to perform well during mock interviews.

Klain warned the White House to be “cautious in dealing with her on these and other points.”

He also warned that Ginsburg “views the White House’s interest and her interests as being at odds with each other.”

He also noted several of Ginsburg’s “style problems,” including “her failure to make eye contact, her halting speech and laconic nature,” all of which he said “is not helpful.”

The revelations are included in the latest batch of previously-private memos, documents and other hand-written communications released Friday.

The more than 1,000 pages of documents are the sixth in the series of White House documents.
Among the once-restricted records were reports on Vice President Al Gore’s unsuccessful 2000 presidential bid, as well as information related to Usama bin Laden and Clinton’s controversial nomination and ultimate rejection of Lani Guinier to head up the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in 1993.

Since February, more than 20,000 documents have been released.

Previously released papers have given the public a glimpse into the workings of the White House, including complaints from Clinton on the length of presidential speeches, tension between the Clinton and Gore staff as well as Hillary Clinton’s failed attempt as First Lady to overhaul the U.S. health care system.

There are another 13,000 or so private documents that are expected to be released in the coming weeks.