Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Specter of a Lesbian Supreme Court Justice?

"Have I ever lived an alternative lifestyle? The answer is no." 419px-Bernard_d'Agesci_La_Justice

That is not Elena Kagan, in some real or imagined dialogue. 

That was Donna Shalala in 1992, Clinton's Secretary of Health and Human Services.  Janet Reno, Clinton's third and ultimately successful nominee for Attorney General explicitly told reporters she was "attracted to strong, brave, rational, and intelligent men." 

The absence of heterosexual bona fides, however, for both Shalala and Reno meant that rumors about their sexuality dogged them.

As recent discussions about Elena Kagan here, here, and here demonstrate, things haven't changed as much as one might have thought.  But what relevance is sexual orientation in terms of a nation's highest court? 

In 1993, I argued "we need a Lesbian on the Supreme Court," and then unpacked what such a statement might mean in terms of both identity and identity politics, as well as constitutional doctrine.  The article, The Specter of a Lesbian Supreme Court Justice, is now available on ssrn here.

RR

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2010/05/the-specter-of-a-lesbian-supreme-court-justice.html

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Comments

Unfortunately the reality of what a U.S. Supreme Court Justice does on the job (and that is the only thing ‘’we the people’’ should care about) is interpret law and actually ‘Make’ law.

The U.S. Congress is the body that makes law.

The English language is not so complex that those words of law need be ‘interpreted’ the job of the U.S. Supreme Court is to monitor and enforce the surety that the lower courts have indeed followed those ‘words’.
How wonderful for U.S. law and Justice if that were true.

Posted by: carol Budro | May 12, 2010 4:49:47 AM

If the Constitution is somehow a living document that is to be informed by contemporary circumstances then how do we ignore the contemporary circumstances that inform the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution?

Let's have a lesbian perspective on the Commerce Clause; a Greek perspective on the Presentment Clause; a left-handers perspective on Equal Protection; and a auto-mechanic's perspective on Appointment and Removal powers.

If the Constitution will be interpreted through the lens of contemporary circumstances then it becomes necessary to determine the color and clarity of the lenses used by those interpreters. Because, of course, that is what our forefathers agreed to 200 years ago.

Posted by: Greg | May 13, 2010 7:23:15 AM

you told that Let's have a lesbian perspective on the Commerce Clause; a Greek perspective on the Presentment Clause; a left-handers perspective on Equal Protection; and a Auto Mechanics Job perspective on Appointment and Removal powers.see the just mechanic

Posted by: Aircraft Mechanics Jobs | Sep 28, 2010 6:03:33 AM

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