Kagan Whisper Campaign Over? Friends Say She’s Straight

May 12, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Politico interviewed two college friends of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, about the swirling rumors concerning her sexual orientation. The verdict? She is not a lesbian. Good to know I guess, but why does it matter? And why is the question even being asked so publicly?

It apparently matters to a conservative blogger who falsely declared on a CBS blog, as fact, based on unsubstantiated rumors, that Kagan was openly gay. After complaints from the White House, the post was pulled.

It matters to radical far-right Christians, whom have attempted to smear Kagan as not suitable for the Supreme Court, because she may be a “moral reprobate.” The far right Christian community has demanded that U.S. Senators question her publicly about her sexual orientation.

And it matters to Republicans, anxious to find any dirt they can on Kagan, despite her impeccable academic background and moderate philosophy, to torpedo her nomination, just because it would be seen as a loss of President Obama’s.

All of this hysterical and bigoted vitriol about a middle-age professional, unmarried woman, may have just faded into the background of right-wing hate and foolishness, much like previous claims that now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was a racist. But when an openly-gay and progressive writer, such as Andrew Sullivan jumped into the fray supporting a sexual orientation grilling of Kagan, the traditional media took notice.

In his piece, entitled “So Is She Gay?” Sullivan makes the bizarre argument that America has a right to know if a Supreme Court nominee is gay, because sexual orientation has an impact on decision making:

“Since the issue of this tiny minority – and the right of the huge majority to determine its rights and equality – is a live issue for the court in the next generation, and since it would be bizarre to argue that a Justice’s sexual orientation will not in some way affect his or her judgment of the issue, it is only logical that this question should be clarified. It’s especially true with respect to Obama. He has, after all, told us that one of his criteria for a Supreme Court Justice is knowing what it feels like to be on the wrong side of legal discrimination. Well: does he view Kagan’s possible life-experience as a gay woman relevant to this? Did Obama even ask about it? Are we ever going to know one way or the other? Does she have a spouse? Is this spouse going to be forced into the background in a way no heterosexual spouse ever would be?”

Politico interviewed Kagan’s former Harvard Law School school roommate, Sarah Walzer and undergraduate Princeton friend, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. And both say Kagan is not gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but she just isn’t a lesbian. Kagan likes guys—she just never was able to find the right match. She is straight they say:

‘“I’ve known her for most of her adult life and I know she’s straight,” said Sarah Walzer, Kagan’s roommate in law school and a close friend since then. “She dated men when we were in law school, we talked about men — who in our class was cute, who she would like to date, all of those things. She definitely dated when she was in D.C. after law school, when she was in Chicago – and she just didn’t find the right person.”’

Waltz said, “She said she decided to talk to POLITICO because the discussion of Kagan’s personal life has become a “distraction.”’ “It’s taking away from substantive discussion of the issues from a really substantive person who deserves to be given the opportunity to address the substantive issues,” she said.

And Spitzer points out that Kagan dated men. “Another friend, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, a member of Kagan’s social circle at Princeton University, wanted to make the same point as Walzer. “I did not go out with her, but other guys did,” he said in an email Tuesday night. “I don’t think it is my place to say more.”’

Will this now put an end to talk of Elena Kagan’s sexual orientation? Probably not.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan has walked back his previous remarks. After receiving criticism, Sullivan defended his remarks, but says he will end his inquiry into Kagan’s sexuality. Sullivan, said he was looking for “a simple answer to a simple question about a core part of someone’s identity should be possible. . . I’ve asked one question I feel is legitimate and utterly without malice and I have received an answer. The answer is that I should not ask. I take it as a final one. I won’t any more.”

The suggestion of making the sexual preference of a Supreme Court nominee, as part of a legitimate line of questioning or a discriminatory litmus test, is not merely “a simple answer to a simple question.”


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