Gay, SCOTUS

Gay Justice Could Be Coming

When I first read this headline on the ABA Journal this morning, I became very excited:

Poll Finds 55% Would Support Openly Gay Justice

Gay Justice? How awesome! Justice is way too straight. Basic black letter laws and stuffy proceedings. It’d be far more exciting and visually interesting if Lady Justice was a little bit more… flamboyant. I’ve been to gay Halloween and it’s a lot more fun.

Sadly, my hopes for plastering pink triangles on courthouses were dashed when I actually clicked on the link. A Vanity Fair/CBS News poll found that 55% of Americans would support an openly gay Supreme Court justice, while 40% of those polled would oppose an openly gay SCOTUS nominee. That’s boring. All that shows is that 40% of poll respondents are raging homophobes. I’m pretty sure we didn’t need Vanity Fair to tell us that.

The only question is whether Obama will enrage the anti-gay people with his next SCOTUS nominee…

The WSJ Law Blog points out that Obama might soon have another opportunity to show the gay community that he doesn’t find them icky (notwithstanding the President’s cowardly position on gay marriage):

The issue is academic for now, but it might not be for long. President Obama may soon inherit another Supreme Court vacancy, if Justice John Paul Stevens, who will be 90 next month, decides to step down. Two candidates rumored to have been on his short list after David Souter stepped down last year, Stanford Law professor Pam Karlan and former Stanford Law Dean and current Quinn Emanuel name partner, Kathleen Sullivan, are openly gay.

Honestly, only a fool would think that we haven’t already had multiple gay Justices. Having one who is out would be a step forward, but gays have almost certainly been on the Court before.

Still, some on the Senate Judiciary committee can barely hide their bigotry:

The nomination of a gay man or woman to the High Court may not derail his or her candidacy, but would likely provide an extra hurdle. On the prospect of it, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), said last year that it made him “uneasy.”

What the hell does that mean, Jeff Sessions? You know what, it makes me “uneasy” that the prospect of a gay SCOTUS nominee makes you uneasy. And by “uneasy” I mean it makes me “want to vomit.” It’s 2010 in America, that’s got to mean it’s at least 1960 in Alabama. You rail all you want about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and their divorce attorneys — but worrying about whether an openly gay individual can perform on the High Court is homophobia, plain and simple. Of course, that didn’t stop the San Francisco Chronicle from spilling some ink over federal judge Vaughn Walker’s sexuality.

An openly gay justice will almost certainly happen in my lifetime. I just hope it’s one appointed by a conservative President who comes out of the closet — Ricky Martin-style — after confirmation.

Poll Finds 55% Would Support Openly Gay Justice [ABA Journal]
The 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll [Vanity Fair]
Is the U.S. Ready for a Gay Justice? [WSJ Law Blog]

Earlier: The Prop 8 Judge May Be Gay: Does It Matter?

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56 Responses to “Gay Justice Could Be Coming”

  1. guest says:

    First to say heyyyyyyyyyyyy

  2. 1l says:

    what is a SOCTUS nominee?

  3. Guest says:

    I've always wanted to be on the SOCTUS.

    Seriously, though, it is really disappointing to hear that 40% would actually OPPOSE a gay justice. Whatever happened to our nation of apathy?

    • Thomas Paine says:

      Yep, it's all about tolerance until someone disagrees with you and your liberal bias. I'm proud to be straight!

  4. Guest says:

    I've always wanted to be on the SOCTUS.

    Seriously, though, it is really disappointing to hear that 40% would actually OPPOSE a gay justice. Whatever happened to our nation of apathy?

  5. ChicagoRick says:

    Will Elena Kagan count?

  6. Guest says:

    “The only question is whether Obama will enrage the anti-gay people with his next SOCTUS nominee …”

    I disagree. The only question is how long is it going to take you to correct this typo?

    • Tommy says:

      The only question is whether any justice wants to let Obama be the one to replace him/her. I suspect they'd all rather die on the bench than let a neo-marxist appoint a justice.

  7. lorenzosllamas says:

    Meh. Cardozo was a flamer. Just read any sentence he ever wrote.

  8. guest says:

    What is Perez HilTTTon's position on abortion? Could he survive the vetting process?

  9. guest says:

    Thank God for patriots like Sen. Jeff Sessions. phew!

  10. Guest says:

    I wonder if a gay justice could separate his/her sexuality like any normal writer does from their writing, unlike Lat who insists on qualifying guys as “hot” or “cute.”

    • Tommy says:

      If Lat gets appointed, we'll have holdings that read, “…the Gucci-clad petitioner failed to persuade the Court on the merits of his argument, despite his cute demeanor…”

  11. FAIL says:

    “All that shows is that 40% of poll respondents are raging homophobes.”

    No, it just means those justices are more likely to disagree with them on important issues.

    This blog is almost as disgustingly biased as the New York Times.

  12. Steven says:

    I wouldn't support a gay justice if I was against gay marriage (especially with the case working it's way up to the Court). It's likely that a gay justice will vote for gay marriage. Since more than half of the US seems to be against gay marriage I don't find that poll to be that surprising.

    • Miss. South New York says:

      you might be dumber than me.

    • ChicagoRick says:

      So the slightly-under-under half of us in the US who support gay marriage shouldn't support the appointment of any heterosexual justices? They'd be as likely to be susceptible to the same sort of 'bias'.

  13. wtf... says:

    Will my comment still get posted three times if I hit “Post as Guest”?

    …Please enter a name and valid email? WTF?! Talk about chilling effect. I could just create a dummy e-mail account when I feel like flaming, but it's probably not worth the effort.

  14. The Peanut Gallery says:

    And no one mentions Souter?

  15. guest9999999 says:

    For once I agree with Elie, though for a different reason:
    “An openly gay justice will almost certainly happen in my lifetime. I just hope it’s one appointed by a conservative President who comes out of the closet — Ricky Martin-style — after confirmation.”
    (I assume Elie is referring to a justice who comes out of the closet, even though his misplaced clause implies that it is the president, not the justice, who comes out of the closet).
    I hope that the first openly gay justice is a conservative. Being gay doesn't mean that you have to favor a “living constitution” approach to the law. Having an openly gay justice write an opinion holding that there is no constitutional right to gay marriage, for example, would drive a lot of progressives really insane. And it might cause consternation (or maybe even change some minds) among anti-gay conservatives when they are forced to recognize that a justice whose lifestyle they condemn has made a decision that they like very much.

  16. Harry Jones says:

    As a gay attorney, I think our community would be far better served if Obama would nominate more openly gay District Court judges. I am sure that there a plenty of qualified men and women who would be easily confirmed by the Senate. Diversity on the bench should definitely include gay men and lesbians.

    • Heyyyyy says:

      As opposed to openly straight?? Why do straight or gay have to be “open”??

      • Yes, in fact, I am gay says:

        Er. Uh. Virtually all straight people are open – i.e., are allowed to demonstrate their sexuality in public by doing things like wearing wearing bands, holding hands with their spouses, talking about their beloved someones. Is that hard to understand? Many gay people find it necessary to pretend to be either straight or asexual in order to protect their jobs, families, homes, etc. The more “openly” gay people who are hired or accepted publicly, the fewer other gay folks who have to pretend and fear.

        • Jojo says:

          Gays can do the same thing; it seems that only your mind is stopping you. The more gays act like a normal human being, doing things you maintain they can't, the quicker they will be accepted & society will go on.

  17. Kash-fan says:

    Am I the only one who finds the title of this post…indecent? Would it have made a difference if it was Kash who wrote it?

  18. Guest says:

    Just because some people are gay does not mean we need a gay justice. We have differentiate among people for all sorts of reasons, that doesn't mean we need every group represented. We need to stop picking people because they fall into a category and base it on actual merit instead.

    • ChicagoRick says:

      I concur. Are you asking that Justice Thomas step down?

    • Guest is dumb guy says:

      “and base it on actual merit instead”

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That is the stupidest, and funniest, thing I've heard all day.

      That's rich.

      Hey…smarty-pants…in the world of politics, politics = actual merit, in case you've had your head in the sand for the past 200 years. And gay = liberal = gets more gay votes at the polls = actual merit.

      If you still want to live in a Disneyland-type fantasy world, go ahead. But just to be clear, that's not the world everyone else is living in.

      “Actual merit…” Still funny.

  19. Kev says:

    Elie – are you aware that for you to think an openly gay justice would somehow protect someone better than a straight justice is, in fact, bigoted?

  20. wellheynow says:

    What's this about a gay pole cumming on a justice of the Supreme Court?

  21. Hortense says:

    Just because a judge is gay doesn't mean he is biased. Just look at Vaughn Walker and his recent even-handed, measured approach handling the ludicrous trial in California seeking to invalidate a popular referendum based on reading the minds of millions of California voters. Oh wait. Never mind.

  22. ShaFeef says:

    Which infidel is the gay one again? The asian attorney or the walrus. I get confused.

    • guest9999999 says:

      The gaysian lawyer. The walrus just writes sympathetically about gay rights — seemingly ever more longingly in each post — as though he wished he were gay.

  23. No Lube Required Here says:

    It would be worth it just to see Scalia squirm as he sits next to someone he considers no better than a child pornographer. See Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 598 (2003) (Scalia, J., dissenting).

  24. L7 says:

    Love the ambiguous headline.

    I for one welcome our fabulous new overlords.

  25. Elie is dumb guy says:

    Elie…

    You are a silly human being most of the time. 40% are not raging homophobes. They are conservatives who don't want to see a liberal on the bench.

    I'd be glad to see a gay person on the bench, but I've got to call you out on being crazy.

    • David Lat says:

      Yeah, cos all teh gays iz liberals.

    • Hayden Arse says:

      The real question is whether Obama could get anyone confirmed at this point, if he appointed Scalia's clone the GOP would filibuster assuming it was a trick.

    • AK says:

      Oh come on, that's goddamn absurd. You think 40% of the people polled have any idea what is involved in Supreme Court jurisprudence at all, or what sort of concerns animate appellate law? You think 40% of them said, “Hmmmm, I wouldn't mind a gay justice except for the fact that those gays are mostly liberal so I'd better answer as though it were another question entirely”?

      You're giving us two options: either 40% of the country is massively homophobic, or 40% of the country is actually full-on irrational in general. While the latter isn't entirely unbelievable, Occam's razor would push us towards the former.

  26. Mr. Slave says:

    I want a gay justice so I can obtain an injunction against my lover for putting hamsters in my rectum.

  27. wellheynow says:

    Oh, Jeeethuth Chriiiiist.

  28. guest says:

    why do people care more about the group affiliations of supreme court justices than their ideologies? they have a job to do, it's not just a popularity contest.

  29. Hutaree Honcho says:

    Whoa. Whoa. “Gay Justice Could be Coming”? Is there a secondary meaning to these words?

    Is–by any chance–Elie riffing off Teddy Kennedy who, when Sandra O'Connor was nominated in 1981, stated that “making one woman a Justice does not bring justice to women”?

    This is very clever.

    • Guest says:

      “Is–by any chance–Elie riffing off Teddy Kennedy who, when Sandra O'Connor was nominated in 1981, stated that “making one woman a Justice does not bring justice to women”?”

      Boy, tell me about it!

      - Mary Jo Kopechne

  30. mature1L says:

    Coming…. cumming…. hehehehehehe

    penis! Penis! PENIS! PEEEEEENNNNNISSSSSSSS!

  31. Hutaree Honcho says:

    I say: it's long past time to have a SCROTUM justice

  32. Matt says:

    Justice Rives Kistler on the Oregon Supreme Court is openly gay, and he voted against recognizing gay marriage when the case came before the court.

  33. Haze says:

    Stop gunning for the nomination, Elie. We are on to you, in the metaphorical, not literal, way.

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