Is Elena Kagan gay? Should anyone care?

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan (AFP)

Is Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, a lesbian?

Is it important?

Depends on who you talk to.

Openly gay blogger Andrew Sullivan says it’s damn important and wants Kagan and the White House to come clean about about her sexual orientation.

Writes Sullivan:

There are three possibilities, it seems to me, behind the kerfuffle over Elena Kagan’s emotional orientation. The first is that her orientation is heterosexual and she is merely a dedicated career person who never had time for a date. The second is that she is lesbian, and she remains in a glass closet, and the Obamaites, revealing their usual tone-deafness on gay issues, never asked and blundered into this. The third is that she is a highly cautious political lesbian who has drawn a line around her real life in order to prevent her orientation being used against her – especially by the Christianist right.

Rumors that Kagan is gay aren’t new. Neither is the reluctance of Presient Barack Obama’s administration to openly confront the issue. When asked about the issue Tuesday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says “it’s not anything I’m going to get into.”

Others, however, are into the issue.

“It’s time we got over the myth tht what a public servant does in his private life is of no consequence,” writes Bryan Fischer of the ultra right-wing American Family Association.

Fischer claims lesbians are “sexually abnormal” and, therefore, unfit for Supreme Court Service.

Richard Kim, writing in The Nation, disagrees:

I don’t know if Elena Kagan sleeps with women or men. I don’t know if she sleeps with anyone at all. I don’t care. What I do know is that she has never claimed to be a lesbian, that she’s never spoken out in the first-person as an advocate of gay rights and that she has never publicly discussed a romantic relationship with a woman. Gay isn’t some genetic or soulful essence; it’s a name you call yourself–and Kagan has not done that. So in my book, case closed. Elena Kagan is not gay.  Is she straight? I don’t know, and again, I don’t care. Why does she have to have a sexuality at all?

Jack Shafer at Salon says he would be nice if Kagan, if gay, were open and honest about her orientation:

One would think that we had already reached the shrugging point and that President Obama, backed by a solidly democratic Senate, could be persuaded to nominate a qualified, out-of-the-closet homosexual. Instead, he’s nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan, an accomplished lawyer who has deliberately left such a vague paper trail and such a oblique personal trail that we have almost no idea of who she is.

Perhaps Kagan is nervous about declaring her sexuality because of comments like this one posted by “Jack Smith” on the “This Week” web site:

She’s too ugly for a guy to go after her. She’s gotta be a lesbian out of necessity!

The Wall Street Journal added fuel to the fire by publishing an old photo of her playing softball. Gay rights groups got all hot and bothered, saying the photo was homophobic because softball is considered a lesbian sport.

It is?

And the beat goes on.

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17 Responses to "Is Elena Kagan gay? Should anyone care?"

  1. Pingback: Lesbian Teens » Blog Archive

  2. Carl Nemo  May 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    As an agnostic with a bias towards atheism, I feel that my comment on this issue may have merit.

    According to Christian beliefs activities associated with gay liasons are ‘sinful”. America purports to be a predominantly Christian nation although the founders were deists and tried to insure the separation of church and state, but religion is a hard monolith to resist and there’s realities associated with its pervasive presence regardless of the faith represented. Seemingly there’s far more Christians at this point in our history than the lesser represented faiths.

    So if Ms. Kagan both honestly and openly admits to her sexual predilection then sobeit and she’d get an A+ for forthrightness and honesty, but…?

    Sexual bias within one’s persona has an incredibly powerful influence, so I would find it difficult to believe that she would write briefs in an unfluenced fashion when it comes to matters of same sex marriage, or any issues that might come before the court that’s linked homosexual issues including gays in the military. My problem with same sex marriage is the expansive cost to the state to create a new class of citizens and also issues it can cause within the military concerning the compromise of command and even the possibility of state secrets to the enemy.

    Although her sexual preferences shouldn’t be any of our business, when it comes to sitting on the high court; I believe it does due to the fact we don’t want biased, but…”balanced” opinions.

    I hope the Senate Judiciary Committee et al. providing input into this decision realize that the most important criteria for the high court is achieving non-partisan, non-prejudicial balance concerning appointees.

    There’s no doubt Ms Kagan is well-credentialed, extremely bright and accomplished, but that alone should not predicate such an appointment. She’s never held a judgeship, so I’d prefer to have an appointee that’s been sitting on the Federal Court of Appeals or one of the Federal Circuits rather than experimenting with an intellectual on the high court.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Almandine  May 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Carl -

      While I agree with the general tenor of your post, I take issue with your statement that “the Senate Judiciary Committee et al. providing input into this decision [should, must, etc] realize that the most important criteria for the high court is achieving non-partisan, non-prejudicial balance concerning appointees.” I disagree.

      Appointees come one at a time, and to provide “non-partisan balance” as you suggest would mean keeping score, vis-a-vis ideology and temperament. I can’t think of a worse proposition to guide our judicial appointments. I hope what you really meant was that each proposed appointee had to be judged on his/her analytical and judgmental merit, whether it would be applied with Solomonic style and substance, leaving personal partisanship and prejudices aside.

      Rare qualities for sure, but certainly obtainable for 9 individuals in a country of over 300M people. But then again, ho hum, we are talking about what the Senate can accomplish to assure such wisdom in the court room.

      • Carl Nemo  May 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm

        Hi Almandine,

        “Appointees come one at a time, and to provide “non-partisan balance” as you suggest would mean keeping score, vis-a-vis ideology and temperament.” extract from reply

        You are correct in your rebuttal. My concern with Ms. Kagan is the fact she’s never held a judgeship and has basically been operating in academia most of her life excluding her current appointment to that of Solicitor General.

        The Senate Judiciary Committee has a track record of analyzing past opinions/briefs from sitting judges and they do try to parse every aspect of their persona to see if they will get a candidate that possibly will skew the court towards either a conservative or liberal agenda over a many year period. We surely don’t want judges sitting on the court that wish to make law from the bench as they do now instead of interpreting it, but seemingly it is so. Conservative Christians et al. with various agendas who are concerned about the slippery slope of same sex marriage, abortion issues, gays in the military etc. are surely keen on who gets the appointment. If the committee screws up there’s a good chance a number of them won’t be coming back when the new Congress is called to session 2011 and they know so too.

        So your concerns are spot-on because in fact that’s what happens concerning these committee screenings for a prospective candidate.
        I’m so disappointed with the corporate friendly ideologues we now have on the court, I’d rather have a supercomputer with neural net input analyzing motions and ruling on the outcome rather than these blustering, pompous men and women. I feel we’d get much better decisions than the arcane rulings that continue to spill forth from the high court.

        Note: ‘Message in a bottle’ … I have no idea when this will post. Currently I cannot access the site without Doug assisting my posts. Akismet the WordPress SPAM filter has blocked me from CHB, Doug has sent a request to release me to the tank, but it can take up to eight days?! When I Google Carl Nemo, I’m now even getting a dropdown prompt…”is Carl Nemo a threat to society”. Huh?

        Today I’m working on a ‘black helicopter” friendly landing site next to my home to facilitate an efficient roundup on their behalf… / : |

        Carl Nemo **==

  3. DDearborn  May 12, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Hmmm

    Who cares what her sexual preference is? In fact who cares that the nominee is female? What people should care about is her total lack of qualifications for the position. Zero real world work experience, zero time as judge, nearly zero
    written contribution to the legal world. An open zionist, as well as schrill for Goldman Sachs, a product of Larry Summers. But most importantly is her complete and utter contempt for the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution in general, and the rule of law. She has WRITTEN that the government should regulate speech. In other words ignore the rule of law, ignore the Constition and Bill of Rights. And she believes that the president should have the power on his say so (without due process) to strip anyone he sees fit of their citizenship, label them enemy combatents(a made up, no existent legal term bye the way) and either lock them up or just kill them. This people is the word
    of a despot, fascist police state, not the United States of America. In fact if I was looking for an example of who was UNFIT to serve a life term as a Jusctice to the Supreme Court she fits the bill. And it has ZERO to do with her being a women, or her sexual orientation.

    • Guardhouse lawyer  May 13, 2010 at 9:44 am

      DDearborn:

      You are wrong. Plain flat wrong.

      “Geoffrey R. Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago who was dean when Kagan was hired there, wrote in a May 10 article:

      “In her formative years as a scholar, Kagan wrote a series of illuminating articles about freedom of speech. They were illuminating not only because they shed interesting light on the First Amendment, but also because they reveal a lot about Kagan. In an area rife with ideology, her articles addressed complex and weighty legal questions without even a hint of predisposition.

      ” In one early essay, she addressed the provocative issue of hate speech. After examining the question in a rigorous, lawyerlike manner, she came out in full support of a highly controversial 5-4 decision authored by none other than conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, which held that the government cannot constitutionally ban hate speech. Kagan reached this result even though it was clearly contrary to the liberal orthodoxy at the time.”

      I could not find anything about Kagan’s views on citizenship. The Supreme Court and the Congress have been impressively clear that a citizen must act to strip himself of citizenship, and I believe you are lying when you say that she thinks the President should have the power to strip citizenship.

      Your post sounds suspiciously like the ditto-head s— that flows from the nether orifice of Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk. Before spouting stuff like this you owe it to yourself as well as to the listener to do just a little bit of research to establish the veracity of your statements. In this case it is more than obvious that you did not.

      • Carl Nemo  May 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm

        “I believe you are lying”

        “Your post sounds suspiciously like the ditto-head s— that flows from the nether orifice of Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk.” …extract from post with re: to DDearborn “personally”

        Yo G-Lawer,

        This is a prime example of what’s not right about your thought processes and core persona. Your basic post content is fine, but you invariably must attack the other poster. What if DDearborn were simply mistaken and also to accuse him of being in the ranks of the “ditto-head sh–” simply as a function of his/her opinion is over the top…?! You simply can’t post without attacking the messengers, the people on this site, the media or whomever in a low life, classless fashion. Truly you are a tragic soul.

        There’s thousands of other sites on the web that will welcome you with open arms that’s loaded with pseudo-intellectual, rude trolls as yourself.

        As I’ve said before you are like a rock in our collective “site shoe”… / : |

        Carl Nemo **==

        • Guardhouse lawyer  May 14, 2010 at 9:38 am

          Mr. Nemo:

          Do NOT read this post. Do NOT read any post by me.

          That should make your life a whole lot easier.

          Thank you for not reading this post.

  4. bogofree  May 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    The conservative responses in the paper that I have read focus of the important issue of how she interprets the consitution and not her sexuality.

    Margery Egan had a great column in The Boston Herald on tuesday saying this is another example of lack of diversity on the SCOTUS. Her take is that the current court is comprised of those on the elite fast track since their late teens. All have a nice pedigree from Harvard, Yale or Stanford law. None have really had to deal with the results of their decisions on the levels in filters down to.

    You don’t have to be a lawyer to be on the SCOTUS. I’m all for Joe The Plumber to give it a shot.

  5. Ness  May 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    It is important to know if she is a lesbian or not because she is supposed to be impartial when interpreting the law. It will be a disgrace if she applies the law according to her sexual affiliation rather than the majority of American’s stand for. That’s how we have gotten into the situation we are right now, all the minorities pushing their political, sexual, and philisophical agendas down the throat of the American People. If this woman is confirmed, she will be ruling for 30 or 40 years, that is half of a lifetime. It will affect the lives of many. IT DOES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE ABOUT HER SEXUALITY. If she is a lesbian, she is not fit to cast impartial veredicts over a majority heterosexual population period.

    Thanks

    • Guardhouse lawyer  May 12, 2010 at 9:01 pm

      gee whiz, that’s just like being anti-Catholic back in 1960 when JFK was running for president. Do you have a problem with those people who claim they are heterosexual and claim they will not let that influence their actions and decisions?

      The attitude that someone is a lesbian or gay first and foremost and a jurist second, incapable of separating one from the other, is, in my mind, an example of latent if not patent homophobia.

    • Almandine  May 12, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      The law is not about what “the majority of American’s [sic] stand for”, unless and until the Supremes codify contemporary attitudes as such.” Majority rule is tantamount to mob rule sans laws.

      What will be a disgrace is if she interprets any law outside the bounds of constitutional authority.

    • tc  May 12, 2010 at 11:55 pm

      So, if her sexual preference is an issue, should we be concerned that if she is heterosexual, she will by extension, be biased against homosexuals? Period.

      • Carl Nemo  May 13, 2010 at 12:32 am

        Hi tc,

        Although it’s trendy to peg homosexuality as being normal for some folks it is an aberration. The majority of folks on planet earth have a bias for being attracted to the opposite sex; i.e., bonding, marrying, having children and raising families. It’s the law of yin and yang; ie, the law of opposites attracting each other and out of that comes synthesis; ie., hopefully productive children, families along with healthy, wholesome societies with a future.

        Homosexuality on the other hand is monochromatic and static with no possibility for the aforementioned except through contrivance; ie, adoptions, in vitro fertilizations along wth synthetic family situations including “kinky” short term liasons between simply ‘lovers’. Although the partners can and do love each other it is not the way of the Tao. It’s unnatural and anathema to creation itself, therefore doomed or biased towards failure and dissolution along with societies that support such a paradigm.

        I don’t want homosexuals of either sex singled out and persecuted, but to me they are an aberration relative to the maintenance of a sound, fruitful society. They are the minority and it must remain that way if we are to survive as a nation which at this point seems unlikely due to our abandonment of that which is logical and necessary for such.

        Carl Nemo **==

    • Mightymo  May 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

      Clearly a view dictated by homophobia. Why no concern towards her being a woman? Why not about her religion, certainly that must mean she will be biased one way or another. Give any thought on asking her about whether she is a meat eater or not, more area of concern I would think. Since she comes from the east coast, I’m sure she will be unable to understand or know about issues that directly affect the lives of millions of people living on the west coast, she should be dropped immediately!
      Now, if you were to rephrase your response to show your own personal fear of “one of those people” (meaning Lesbian of course) being elected to the highest judicial office in the land, I would understand. But to phrase it that just because she is a potential lesbian, that she will be biased in some evil and unfit manner to hold the position; that’s foolishness.
      I personally find it awfully hard for anyone to be able to justify that a lesbian, no matter how you feel about the subject, will be any less qualified than anyone else with equal qualifications. There are simply too many influencing factors in an individual’s life, known or unknown that will have a direct bearing on their personal bias when making decisions on the Supreme Court. To simply pick on being lesbian is clearly homophobia.

  6. AustinRanter (AKA Gregg)  May 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Uh, no, I don’t care.

  7. Jim  May 13, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Sexual preference influencing interpretations? We could say the same about a person’s preference of religion. Or what about a person’s race, could this influence an interpretation???? This type of bias argument doesn’t hold water.

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