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Dozens of Reagan records due for release, stay sealed

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  1. Freedom of Information
From the Spring 2002 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 40.

From the Spring 2002 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 40.

When the National Archives cleared some 59,850 pages of Reagan White House papers for release on March 15, nearly a dozen researchers stopped by the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., that day to peruse the records.

While they could not view about 150 pages still sealed, the researchers learned — through an 11-page White House summary of the documents procured by the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History — what they entailed.

According to the White House summary, many of the unreleased records involve discussions about the nomination of Robert Bork, then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., (D.C. Circuit), to the U.S. Supreme Court, including a memo from Jeffrey Lord, Reagan’s associate political director, about “The Borker” and a memo called “Life After Bork.” Other records include:

  • Three memos concerning Reagan’s discussion with Christopher Cox, former senior associate counsel to Reagan and now a congressman, about Cynthia Holcomb Hall, a possible Supreme Court nominee.

  • A variety of memos about Reagan’s discussions with advisers about potential Court nominees such as Bork, William Webster, Howard Baker, Ralph K. Winter Jr., Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The files include an entire unreleased folder on Bork.

  • Several memos directed to or written by former Attorney General Ed Meese about possible nominees for sub-cabinet positions and federal judgeships.

  • Two memos from the files of Michael K. Deaver, former deputy chief of staff, on the nomination of Theresa Ellmore, a candidate for the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees and one memo entitled “re: Gary Eyre.”

  • Four memos regarding the Supreme Court from the “FG051 Supreme Court of the U” collection and two from the “FG052 Court of Appeals, Unite” collection.

  • A memo about appointments to the Civil Rights Commission.

  • Six memos about the former President’s Federal Judicial Selection Committee and two on candidates for the U.S. Circuit Judge for the 5th District.

  • Various memos about ambassador and cabinet appointments.

  • A judicial profile on former Sen. James L. Buckley of New York in the files of former White House counsel Dean C. McGrath.

  • Three memos in the “Presidential Teleph” collection of telephone conversations that President Reagan had with Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) regarding the nomination of Winston Lord to be Ambassador to China as well as memos on his conversations with then-Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.).

  • A memo on a scheduling request to the National Religious Broadcasters in the “Motion Pictures — Films” collection.

  • A memo regarding an Oval Office meeting with then-Sens. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) and James McClure (R-Idaho).

Source: The National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History.