The GOP may have found a spot to dig in its heels against Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Without entirely announcing their opposition to her, a pair of top Senate Republicans called a set of newly uncovered memos she wrote as a clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1988 “troubling.” By accusing her of expressing her personal opinion or political philosophy instead of coldly examining the issues in those memos, Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and Jeff Sessions of Alabama seem to be picking up the same line of objection the GOP used against Sonia Sotomayor. To Sessions, it merely reinforced the fact that, “Her background is heavily in political legal advocacy more than the meat-and-potatoes discipline of serious legal work.” But both said they will wait until the hearings begin on June 28 to decide how to vote.
Read it at THE HILL
The suggestion that someone is gay is usually taken as a direct accusation of homosexuality. Only being gay is not automatically a disqualification for office anymore. Indeed, many places have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and there are an increasing number of gay and lesbian officeholders at all levels of elected government. So why do we still think it’s bad to call someone a lesbian? Linda Hirshman, who admits to knowing nothing about the sexual orientation of Kagan, wraps up her interesting op-ed piece by saying:
Finally, and here’s a real dirty little secret, President Obama appointing an openly gay candidate for the Supreme Court would be political genius. Think about the prospect of watching the married Senator Ensign—who is under investigation for allegedly seeking lobbying work for the husband of his mistress—arguing that the high court nominee is “sinful” or “lacking in personal morality,” as the Focus on the Family suggests. The polls are clear: Regardless of their views on same sex marriage, most Americans do not think gays and lesbians should be discriminated against, and the numbers for gays on all issues are sky high among young voters. The Republicans don’t want to be caught in a Pat Buchanan-style culture war just as the mid-term elections loom, just like enough of them wanted to avoid the anti-Hispanic trap to confirm Justice Sotomayor. It’s a no-lose nomination.
There is nothing wrong with being gay (or lesbian). What hurts is the assumption that it hurts.
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the court’s staunchest liberal, said Saturday he “will surely” leave the bench before President Obama leaves office, though he has not yet decided if he will retire this year or the next. Who might replace him? There are three leading candidates, according to Bloomberg News. A source says U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and two federal appellate judges—Diane Wood and Merrick Garland—are leading candidates. Both Kagan and Wood met with Obama and were leading candidates last year when the president appointed Sonia Sotomayor. Garland was one of nine finalists.