The one reason Bill O’Reilly can come up with to demand why Americans should be privy to Elena Kagan’s sexuality is a false starter: because a Supreme Court justice’s orientation might dictate how she votes on particular cases. It’s a stupid argument that’s stupidly been made before, stupidly.
Immutable characteristics like sexuality do not make a person any more or less qualified to issue objective conclusions. A black justice should be no more expected to vote in favor of affirmative action than a white justice should be expected to vote against it. And even characteristics of choice, like religious beliefs, aren’t necessarily indicators about a justice’s fitness to interpret the Constitution. A Catholic justice should be no more expected to rule in favor of blurring the separation of church and state than an atheist justice should be expected to rule against it.
The Washington Post‘s Sally Quinn last night made the best of points: The reason the president nominates a Supreme Court justice is because he thinks she’s qualified.