Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lesbian (Gay) Supreme Court Nominee Possibility

“To start with, we need a lesbian on the Supreme Court.”

Or so I once said, in an interview: “It was the summer of 1992, the last summer of the Reagan-Bush regime, although the demise of that era was far from certain. I was being interviewed by a gay and lesbian magazine for a feature article about the Supreme Court. I was staying in Provincetown, a place renowned for its lesbian/gay culture, surrounded by lesbians of every ilk. . . . when the interviewer  asked me a general question about changing the United States Supreme Court, I replied that we should start with the appointment of a lesbian.  My proposal, glib as a Provincetown summer, implicitly asserts lesbianism would be a relevant quality of a United States Supreme Court Justice.”

The specter of a lesbian Supreme Court Justice raises an issue that has troubled lesbian and political theory, the issue of identity politics.  The rest of the article, The Specter of a Lesbian Supreme Court Justice: Problems of Identity in Lesbian Legal Theorizing, 5 St. Thomas Law Review 433 - 458 (1993), analyzes identity politics circa 1992.

Now, seventeen years later, identity politics remains an issue and at least two lesbians are thought to be contenders for the Court. The story has been buzzing around for a while,  it makes its appearance on Politico here:

Either Kathleen Sullivan or Pamela Karlan, both law professors at Stanford, could become the first “openly gay” Supreme Court justice.

Sullivan is former dean at Stanford and teaches Constitutional Law.

Karlan is a former clerk to Justice Blackmun and Director of Stanford's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

POLTICO also reports that ”in response to questions from POLITICO in recent days, White House aides declined to say whether sexual orientation was among the diversity factors the president planned to consider either with respect to a Supreme Court nominee, or judicial nominees more generally."



News, Profiles in Con Law Teaching, Sexual Orientation, Sexuality | Permalink

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