On Monday, President Obama officially nominated Elena Kagan to be the next Supreme Court justice. There are a lot of interesting statistics involved — fourth woman ever nominated, would join as the third woman on the current Supreme Court lineup, would be one of three current Jewish justices, etc.
She would also be the first justice to be openly called out on rumors of homosexuality during the nomination process.
Yes, despite the variety of possibly controversial aspects of Ms. Kagan’s life and career, allegations that she is a lesbian will undoubtedly be a sticking point for many. It’s apparently an “open secret” among the Harvard crowd that Kagan, who used to be the dean of the Harvard law school (and is not married) has a longtime female partner.
There are a lot of things I could talk about regarding Kagan’s nomination: her time clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall, her history as dean of an Ivy League law school, her time working for the Clinton administration, and now her job as Solicitor General representing the United States in cases before the current Supreme Court. But this post isn’t about any of that.
No, this post is about the reaction that some conservatives are having to the whispers about her sexuality. I’ve read several pieces — including some from a few weeks ago when she was still just a POTENTIAL nominee — but now that she’s officially been put forward the conservative bloggers are all ’bout it.
Here are excerpts from one gem in particular, called “Is she or isn’t she? Let’s ask her“, that caught my eye:
… A refusal to answer is a tacit admission of guilt. But she may not be able publicly to deny she’s a lesbian, likely because it’s true. She may not be able to admit it either, because it could cost her a Supreme Court post. So she’s likely to refuse to answer the question at all, and the only plausible explanation for her evasion would be because rumors of her lesbianism aren’t rumors at all but based in fact.
First, is it that implausible that she could publicly state that she is a lesbian AND still expect to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice?
And second, the author states that the ONLY plausible explanation for refusing to discuss her sexuality is because she is, in fact, secretly a lesbian. Apparently the author can’t imagine that some dignified adults might not think that their personal sex lives are the business of the United States Senate and the media.
Think about it for a minute. If you were falsely accused of engaging in sexually aberrant behavior, would you waste a single minute challenging such a scurrilous rumor?
If I was falsely accused of engaging in sexually aberrant behavior, unless I was being charged with a crime I would probably chastise the accuser for making allegations about things that were none of his/her business, and note that the accuser should be ashamed of him/herself for being so childish.
Of course, that’s assuming that the accusation was actually about behavior that I considered aberrant — and frankly, I don’t think that consensual (and reasonably safe) sex between two adults is aberrant. I think it’s personal, and private, and should remain that way. My sex life, provided I’m not breaking any laws, taking advantage of anyone, hurting anyone, or being unfaithful to a partner to whom I have promised monogamy, is not anyone else’s concern.
One qualification for public office is personal character, and nothing speaks to character more than the choices one makes when it comes to sexual conduct. Bill Clinton convinced an entire generation of America’s youth that oral sex isn’t really sex, and as a result we’ve seen an explosion among millenials in cancers of the throat and head caused by the HPV virus, which is spread through oral-genital contact.
Okay, seriously… an explosion of cancers of the throat and head, among millenials? I’d REALLY like to see some genuine research on that. It’s the first I’ve heard of it, and while I’m not a doctor, I’m still skeptical. That seems like an awfully general statement, with no facts being presented to back it up.
And the idea that this “explosion among millenials” (if it exists) is because Bill Clinton got caught getting a blowjob? That’s just absurd. Teenagers knew what blowjobs were before the President received an infamous one, thank you very much. And Clinton’s behavior was openly vilified by the press and the public, not glorified.
It’s time we got over the myth that what a public servant does in his private life is of no consequence. We cannot afford to have another sexually abnormal individual in a position of important civic responsibility, especially when that individual could become one of nine votes in an out of control oligarchy that constantly usurps constitutional prerogatives to unethically and illegally legislate for 300 million Americans.
Let’s talk about sexual behavior from people in positions of important civic responsibility, shall we? Let’s talk about closeted senators who rail against the “gay agenda” and then get caught trying to have sex in airport bathrooms with strangers. Or what about male ministers who preach hatred towards gays and lesbians, then buy drugs and sex from male prostitutes on the side.
Or to use a very recent example, what about an anti-gay activist who co-founded a conservative the Family Research Council, served as a Baptist minister, testified against adoption by gay couples, and then last week got publicly busted taking a male prostitute from rentboy.com on a European vacation?
Assholes. At least openly gay people aren’t hiding their true selves and doing ridiculous amounts of harm to their community.
The stakes are too high. Social conservatives must rise up as one and say no lesbian is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. Will they?
I’m still waiting to hear a coherent and reasonable explanation for why someone is incapable of hearing the facts in a trial, considering the legal arguments, and making sound decisions based on the law, all because of the gender of the person to whom they go home at night.
Bottom line: these arguments against an allegedly lesbian nominee are silly. If you replaced the word “lesbian” with the word “black” or “Jewish” the public would be outraged, but we’re supposed to accept that it’s okay to discriminate against lesbian people for no rational reason?
If you want to oppose her nomination because you want someone with experience as a judge, and a long history of judicial decisions to dissect and from which you can infer what sort of Supreme Court justice a person might become, I understand. If you think that she’s too young to have the life experience you’d want in someone for the Supreme Court, okay. If you think that she’s too much of a left-wing liberal that will make decisions based on personal opinions, not the rule of law, just say so.
But if the best you’ve got is that people say she’s a lesbian, and therefore she isn’t qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, then you’ve got a pretty absurd argument, and you should be ashamed of yourself.