The US Supreme Court appointments process passes by most UK law students but the decision by President Obama earlier this month to nominate Elena Kagan has caused a spot of bother on the other side of the Atlantic. The Guardian picks up the story today for UK readers. The fuss around her nomination is focusing upon the possibility that she is a lesbian. Or, to be mroe accurate, the fact she looks like a lesbian and old photos of her show her to ‘look like a lesbian’. The Wall Street Journal – yes another jewel of the Murdoch news empire – is at the centre of the most recent old photo story, but it was CBS News that got the ball rolling in declaring her to be gay. That post on the CBS News site was subsequently pulled when the White House complained that the network had made “false charges”. You can read more on that in the Advocate.
The debate is now focusing around whether she needs to clarify her sexuality -as that might have a bearing on whether she is approved and would potentially impact on future judgments. Obviously she has little choice in disclosing she is a woman and that’s no doubt a hindrance in the eyes of some. Her sexuality on the other hand remains largely hidden.
The Guardian story notes the comments of Sunday Times columnist and gay conservative, Andrew Sullivan who stated: “Since it would be bizarre to argue that a justice’s sexual orientation will not in some way affect his or her judgment [on gay rights], it is only logical that this question should be clarified.”
I disagree with Sullivan on many issues but I think he’s right on this one. Of course, part of me thinks someones sexuality should be a private matter but on the other hand it is clearly has the potential to impact on her thinking – hopefully for the better – so yes, she should state how she defines her sexuality and then we can all move on.
You can watch president Obama nominating Kagan below: