Is The GOP Really Open to a Gay Supreme Court Justice? Or Merely Pretending?


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.”

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  • Lee

    Oh, Mary, please! Have the Repugs been getting drunk on gay fantasies, too, [SHAME ON YOU, Victory Fund!] that they think the same guy who, since getting elected, has been totally missing in ACTION on even the least controversial of gay progress issues might actually nominate an out gay for the Court?

    They are doing nothing more than baiting him, HOPING that he will so that they can use it to “strengthen their base” even if they couldn’t stop confirmation which, if the legal credentials were good enough, I don’t think they could.

    But the larger point is, Obama’s clearly lost his balls in a hunting for mainstream Amerika to love him accident.

    Ironic thing is, he’s too out of touch, surrounded by other power mongers too out of touch, to understand that on most gay issues the country is more progressive than he is.

  • Alec

    Actually that’s pretty good news. As long as they’re not uniformly opposed (see, for example, the Hormel nomination, which languished in the GOP senate during the Clinton presidency). To their credit, proving that this can’t possibly be about partisanship, Michael Guest, the openly gay Bush appointment for the Romanian embassy, was quickly and easily confirmed.

    In any event, they know they don’t have the votes to filibuster any nominee, so the issue is moot.

  • Captain Freedom

    John Thune is South DAKOTA. I hate how this website and OnTopMag always get their facts mixed.

  • Chad

    John Thune is hot.


    They’re the same thing. From Atlanta I can drive up I-85 and right there, just the other side of Lake Hartwell, is Mount Rushmore.

  • AlwaysGay

    Their “open-mindedness” is insincere. They are against gay people.

  • Laura in Cabo

    Hi everyone, I just discovered this site trying to find some material on Kathleen Sullivan. I thought I was hallucinating, as I thought I was the only lesbian in the country who didn’t think you had to accept the entire liberal democratic agenda to be a legitimate gay or lesbian. After reading the excellent original articles and the civil and intelligent posts by all of you, I signed up immediately. Obviously, you have to be intelligent to input the password correctly. I hope the “remeber me” function works.

    Fox News just carried a short report on this very. They just quoted Thune, but are presenting Sessions as quite open. But obviously as Lee noted in a manner much wittier than I, this is putting the cart before the horse. Obama has been cowardly, largely I think he fears the religious conservative element of the black base. He’s pure political animal.

    Sullivan would be an outstanding nominee, possibly the best of any. She is not at all dogmatic, and strikes me as more libertarian and not an HRC robot type at all. I just watched a half hour talk she gave at a gay legal issues conference at UCLA. She gave an insiders account of her leading roles working with the ACLU on the major gay rights case. (I’ll retrieve it and post it later). It’s fascinating, and demonstrates not just her intellect, but a personality that would make for the type of judicial temerament to be a leader. Alas, I don’t think he’s got the cajones to go there.

    I will do my best to be less long-winded in the future. It’s just been a long time since I’ve found people I can talk about these things with!

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