BIPARTISAN SMACKDOWN: All seven living former Solicitors General just gave Patrick Leahy a stern rebuke when he tried to access secret Justice Department documents regarding Miguel Estrada, nominated for a seat of the federal court of appeals for the District of Columbia. according to Byron York on National Review Online, who writes:
Last month, apparently dissatisfied with examining that record, Leahy made an unprecedented demand. He asked the Justice Department to hand over the internal legal recommendations that Estrada wrote while in the Solicitor General’s office from 1992 to 1997. A few weeks later, the Justice Department declined, calling the documents “highly privileged.”
Now, all seven living former Solicitors General have written Leahy a letter warning him of the dangers of such an inquiry. The letter, delivered on Tuesday, was written by Seth Waxman, who served as Solicitor General under Bill Clinton. It was sent to Leahy on behalf of not only Waxman but of Walter Dellinger and Drew Days III, who also held the post under Clinton; Kenneth Starr, who held it under the first President Bush; Charles Fried, who was Solicitor General under President Reagan; Robert Bork, who served under President Nixon; and Archibald Cox, who served under President Kennedy.
Meanwhile, York also writes that Republican maverick John McCain has joined the Democratic war on Bush nominees.