Just how far has the GOP come on matters of gay equality? So far that they’d be willing to consider an openly gay Supreme Court nomination? And by “consider” we mean …
… not delivering a “no” vote straight away. The Hill collects soundbites. “I’m not inclined to think that’s an automatic disqualification,” says Republican Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, his party’s top senator on the Judiciary Committee. “I may disagree with some legal opinion on those issues, but I think fundamentally it will be up to the president to submit somebody who would unite the country and would be a clear statement of a mainstream judge who commits himself to the law.” (Sessions also said “yes,” he could support a pro-choice nominee as well.)
Here’s Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia: “I don’t look at disqualifying people, I look at qualifying them. A judge who is qualified to me is someone who doesn’t legislate from the bench.” (Read: Gay is fine, just don’t be all gay about it.)
And South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint: A gay nominee is fine, but Obama “should just focus on a proven judge who understands the Constitution and has demonstrated a willingness to support the rule of law. I hope this does not turn into some kind of ethnic profiling or social profiling, that it’s got to be a woman or a black or something other. That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
And Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski: “It’s not been part of the calculus for me. Right now the speculation is about a woman justice — something you won’t hear me voice much opposition about — but I don’t have any automatic disqualifiers. I don’t think that should be part of our consideration.”
Then there are folks on the fence, or who haven’t had enough time to even consider the possibility.
Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss: “It’s something I’d have to think through with respect to whatever issues might be forthcoming that the court may have to consider.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain: “I have never, frankly, thought about that situation.”
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker: “I’ve never thought about it, but I don’t look at things through that lens in regards to the type of position we’re talking about.”
And then there are those who are like, WTF R U CRZY?
South Dakota Sen. John Thune (and Republican chief deputy whip): “I know the administration is being pushed, but I think it would be a bridge too far right now. It seems to me this first pick is going to be a kind of important one, and my hope is that he’ll play it a little more down the middle. A lot of people would react very negatively.”