Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival

Lesbian Justice on the Supreme Court

posted by Paul Raushenbush

Soon after Justice Souter announced his retirement from the
Supreme Court the nomination speculation game began.  Two of the names that quickly surfaced were Kathleen
Sullivan and Pam Karlan and either one of them would represent the first lesbian on the
Supreme Court

What would it mean to have a gay person on the Supreme
Court?  Nothing and everything of
course.  Personal identity shouldn’t play
into a justice’s decision-making process, but it probably does.  Justice Scalia can’t help but be
informed by his Catholic identity, and Justice Thomas is informed by being
African American, if only in reverse.  Thurgood Marshall was the first African American Justice and he was a strong advocate for equal protection under the law and was an ardent supporter of affirmative action.   Would a lesbian or gay Supreme Court nominee be
affected by their identity?  Yes,
but it wouldn’t overwhelm their ability to be judicious.

I have a particular perspective on this debate as my
great-grandfather, Louis D. Brandeis was nominated to the court as the first
Jew and the six month long vicious confirmation battle that followed had some
anti-Semitic overtones.   Was
Justice Brandeis influenced by his being Jewish?  Probably.  But the
only time I remember him having to excuse himself from a case in front of the
court was when one of his daughters was arguing it.  I had the occasion to meet Justice Ginsburg recently and she reminded me of her article entitled: “Is there a Jewish Seat on the Supreme Court?”  I wonder if there will ever be a gay seat?

It may be that gay marriage will rise to the highest court
in the country sometime during the future nominee’s tenure.  This fact begs the question of whether
or not a gay person could rule on the issue – the answer is, of course,
yes.   Supreme Court Justices
are complete human beings whose intellects are informed by every aspect of
their lives as well as their rigorous understanding of our constitution and
the freedoms guaranteed within.  

I don’t know all the people on President Obama’s list but I
hope that Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Karlan are not excluded for any reason aside from
they aren’t the best minds available.

Comments read comments(7)
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posted May 12, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Kathleen Sullivan and Pam Karlan have excellent backgounds to become a Supreme Court Justice. Our country should indeed have a Judge that completely understands the minds, hearts, and problems of the LGBT. to work with all the other Judges.

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Carl R.

posted May 12, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Anyone who has read Justice Thomas’s autobiography rather than just wanting to quote the liberal conventional wisdom would know better than to say that his opinions are informed by his “being African American, if only in reverse”. In truth, being a qualified African-American attending college among and hypocrites who think they know everything better than the hoi polloi made him realize that all the “help” he was getting from those affirmative actions programs made them think he got in without deserving it and needed their patronizing attitudes to do well. But he could do well no matter what. In fact, these three true statements underline liberal hypocrisy: 1) The civil rights movement in the south complained that all blacks were treated as predictable malleable creatures, when really they had as many views and could be as intellectual as whites; 2) liberals demanded of the first President Bush that he appoint an African-American to replace Thurgood Marshall. 3) The fact that a black man would not kowtow to the liberal scripture annoyed the press and liberals no end (apparently the write of this article, too). Now after expecting all blacks to follow the liberal trope, you expect me to believe that a lesbian Justice won’t follow the liberal homosexual agenda when appointed by a liberal President. I will not accept their potential lack of independence just as you have rejected Justice Thomas’s independence.

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Paul Raushenbush

posted May 12, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Hi Carl R.
I basically agree with you. My point is that Justice Thomas is informed by his identity, he just comes to unexpected conclusions based on his particular take on how identity played out for him. Which in some ways is the best reason to not be so sure of the one to one correlation between identity and how someone will judge from the bench.
Paul Raushenbush

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posted May 12, 2009 at 9:33 pm

My question is, can either woman do the job and does each have the necessary qualifications? If so, fine, appoint them.
The RR isn’t interested in anything other than control and seeing it’s beliefs enshrined in law. They are not the moral majority of anything, nor are they the moral guides to anything. It is time to move forward for the benefit of all citizens in this country rather than a few.

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posted May 13, 2009 at 2:51 am

Carl. R.,
So, you reject a valid premise on the grounds it is stated by someone whom you otherwise disagree with or dislike?
I’ve read some of Thomas’ writing. He is definitely qualified to be a Supreme, even tho’ I disagree with his decisions more than I agree.
See – that may well be the main difference between me (liberal, homosexual agenda of legal marriage to provide a stable, safe, solid social contract for two monogamous men or women who love each other and are life-long partners) and you. I can recognize that not all those who agree with me are good guys, not all with whom I disagree are too D-U-M dumb to pound dirt.
Goodness, if that’s the typical position for conservative Christians and Republicans (sorry, tautology alert) it goes a long way to explaining the mess you folks made under the last administration.

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posted May 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm

You are just too level-headed to be blogging at B’net. ;{O)
from you is perhaps in order in response to: “Pat Robertson: Gay marriage first step on path to child molestation”.
The “religious” “right” have made their bed perfectly. They should be quite content to lie in it (since they’re already lying so much about God’s gay and lesbian children).

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posted May 15, 2009 at 8:21 am

I have to admit, I’m far from being “on board” about gay marriage, but I see no reason why anyone should be excluded from sitting on the Supreme Court because he or she is gay.

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