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Elena Kagan's Inbox Opened for All to Read by Watchdog Group

elena kagan and her emails
Supreme Court nominees have always been subjected to perhaps the most intense vetting process of any political official. But arguably no other candidate has been under the kind of microscopic scrutiny that Elena Kagan now faces, thanks to an organization that has opened up her inbox for all the world to explore.

Created by the watchdog group Sunlight Foundation, 'Elena's Inbox' is an online project that allows casual users to sift through every single e-mail Kagan sent while working under President Bill Clinton. Kagan worked in the White House for five years, and, during that span, she sent some 5,000 e-mails. Users can also search the inbox for specific words or phrases, à la Gmail, but, as the New York Times reports, the tool is somewhat limited. Searching inboxes for keywords works well with your own e-mail archive, but when you're unfamiliar with the lingo a different individual uses in correspondence, it can be difficult to pinpoint those keywords at all. Still, the project offers a unique glimpse into Kagan's work and legal mind, and offers an unprecedented level of political transparency.

We certainly feel an uncomfortable sense of voyeurism when reading through someone else's private vault of correspondence, but, within this context, it feels totally appropriate. After all, the single most important quality for a Supreme Court nominee is the way he or she interprets the law. Different political media outlets may spin Kagan's legal philosophy in different directions, drawing the public's attention to more frivolous, headline-friendly aspects of a candidate's personal life. But thanks to the Sunlight Foundation, we now have an objective source against which we can measure these various interpretations, and, more importantly, that we can use to focus the debate on what really matters. [From: New York Times/ReadWriteWeb]

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