Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 6, 2009

TRANSPARENT BIGOTRY.... Following up on an earlier item, at least one high-profile Republican senator announced he doesn't want to see President Obama nominate a gay American for the Supreme Court.

[C]onservative leaders have warned the nomination of a gay or lesbian justice could complicate Obama's effort to confirm a replacement for Souter, and another Republican senator on Wednesday warned a gay nominee would be too polarizing.

"I know the administration is being pushed, but I think it would be a bridge too far right now," said GOP Chief Deputy Whip John Thune. "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."

I don't expect much from Thune, but I have to wonder if he realizes how incredibly ridiculous this is.

As he put it, the nominee has to be straight, otherwise the would-be justice "would be a bridge too far right now." Honestly, what the hell does that mean? Thune, as a practical matter, is establishing a litmus test -- qualifications and merit are important, but homosexuality, regardless of any other factor, is more important. Why? Because Thune says so.

Indeed, the president, Thune says, should "play it a little more down the middle." What if the nominee is both gay and well within the judicial mainstream? Why would any thinking person assume that a gay nominee is necessarily someone on the ideological fringe?

Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to his credit, told reporters today, "I'm not inclined to think [being gay is] an automatic disqualification."

Good lord, Jeff Sessions is starting to look moderate compared to some of his GOP colleagues.

Steve Benen 4:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (62)

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Comments

Would a gay white dude be OK? Is Harvey Fierstein qualified?

Posted by: Breezeblock on May 6, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Is it OK if he or she is in the closet? Sort of a DADT for the SCOTUS?

Seriously, Obama should nominate Paul Smith, and when he gets asked about Lawrence v. Texas, Smith should point out that he got Justice Kennedy's vote.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on May 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Half the GOP would be outed. There's a movie out now called "Outrage" that deals with this hypocrisy. All these hypocrites who are afraid of losing their seats ( when they're most likely bottoms anyway!) for coming out. rofl.

Posted by: johnnymags on May 6, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'd join in the handwringing, but really, they're Senate Republicans. What do you think they're going to say?

Posted by: Run Up The Score on May 6, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Why would any thinking person assume that a gay nominee is necessarily someone on the ideological fringe?"

Well, they wouldn't, but to these people, homosexuality IS the ideological fringe, by it's very existence. So to them, yeah, any gay nominee is by definition an extremist.

Posted by: john on May 6, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

"What if the nominee is both gay and well within the judicial mainstream? Why would any thinking person assume that a gay nominee is necessarily someone on the ideological fringe?"

Echoing on the point made on my post in the other thread that liberals' commitment to diversity is subservient to ideology, would you support the nomination of the first female hispanic lesbian to the Supreme Court if that person was regarded to be a judicial conservative but well within the judicial mainstream?

Posted by: Chicounsel on May 6, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel: as an alternative to what? If Bush had made that appointment (which he never would have done because anti-gay bigotry is so deeply entrenched in the Republican party), then yeah, I probably would have supported her as the lesser of a large number of potential evils. It also depends on what "judicial conservative" means to you. It's usually not much more than a Republican dogwhistle code-word for "person who would vote to overturn Roe."

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on May 6, 2009 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK
the first female hispanic lesbian

If you really wanted a radical choice, nothing would beat the first male Hispanic lesbian.

Posted by: noncarb on May 6, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Session's comment doesn't make him comparatively moderate; it just makes him less homophobic.

What a shame if it turns out that the only senate repug who's NOT a closet case is Jeff Sessions.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on May 6, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Jeff Sessions is starting to look moderate compared to some of his GOP colleagues."

Not even. The thought of a gay on the court scares Sessions less than the thought of a black or latina woman and both of the lesbians discussed are white!

Posted by: AngryOldVet on May 6, 2009 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

He should Out Lindsey Graham, and then nominate him.

Posted by: Patrick on May 6, 2009 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Not even. The thought of a gay on the court scares Sessions less than the thought of a black or latina woman and both of the lesbians discussed are white!

This is why a gay black latina should get the nod. And if she rides motorcycles clad in black leather, all the better.

Posted by: Mr. Stuck on May 6, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

"would be a bridge too far right, right now."

There, I fixed the sentence and haven't we already tried that bridge? Now, how about not giving a flying fuck what the nominee's sexual orientation is. Better yet how about condidering a counter weight to the "bridge too far right" assholes; Scaley-a, Roberts, Alito and that fruitcake with the pubic hair on his can of coke. Life in the Space/Time Ridiculum.

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on May 6, 2009 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Pam Karlan has worked with Pres. Obama when he was Professor Obama at Chicago. Obama helped edit an Election Law Textbook that Ms. Karlan helped write. I do believe she's got a better than decent shot at being the choice.

Posted by: Chris A on May 6, 2009 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

What Thune is really saying is that he doesn't want to see an OUT gay justice. I'd be willing to wager big money that we've already had gay Supreme Court Justices, and probably have one on the court right now.

Posted by: Ralph Kramden on May 6, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

By "down the middle" does Thune mean nominate a hermaphrodite Judge?

Posted by: JWK on May 6, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Thune's view must really make the Log Cabin Republicans feel at home. BTW, are they still allowed to have their nose in the tent? Even just the tip?

Posted by: sparow on May 6, 2009 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of people would react very negatively.

I really, really hate this hypocrisy. Thune should just say it, "We Republicans would tear this place apart."

Posted by: RSA on May 6, 2009 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Echoing on the point made on my post in the other thread that liberals' commitment to diversity is subservient to ideology...
Posted by: Chicounsel

Is that the kind of reasoning that forces you to get your "law degree" out of a gumball machine, dunce?

Posted by: DJ on May 6, 2009 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

When will we see yet another GOP hypocrite outed?

"Thune!"

Sorry.

Posted by: policomic on May 6, 2009 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Some believe we already have a gay chief justice. Is it OK if they're firmly in the closet?

Posted by: rabbit on May 6, 2009 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to his credit, told reporters today, "I'm not inclined to think [being gay is] an automatic disqualification."

He can say that because he knows he could find 100 other reasons to oppose the nomination anyway.

Posted by: qwerty on May 6, 2009 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to his credit, told reporters today, "I'm not inclined to think [being gay is] an automatic disqualification."

Which isn't the same as saying it isn't a disqualification.

Posted by: martin on May 6, 2009 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

This is hilarious. The Republicans are so freaking stupid to go on the offensive on this. Why not just STFU? It's as if they're putting a sign on their backs that says "Homophobes." The best way to make people more inclined to support a gay justice is to step out, totally unprovoked, and tell them how much you hate gays.

Posted by: bobbo on May 6, 2009 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

What makes this farce especially enjoyable is that the GOP is headed by a bizarre incompetent who was chosen by the party because of the color of his skin, chosen just months ago, not to mention that the former GOP vice presidential candidate was chosen for her gender (and attractiveness), just last year, despite her obvious shortcomings for any position of responsibility.

The Daily Show really needs to have year-end recaps, e.g., "2009 WTF?!" Some of the comedy arcs like Steele and Palin really need to be savored over month-long periods.

Posted by: Travis on May 6, 2009 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hermaphrodite? Bah. By saying 'down the middle,' Thune is clearly calling for a bisexual nominee.

Posted by: protected static on May 6, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm slightly inclined to probably thinking that perhaps being gay isn't possibly an AUTOMATIC disqualification, I don't think."

Posted by: Rob on May 6, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Roy Cohn is dead.

Posted by: Mudge on May 6, 2009 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

There goes Larry Craig's big chance.

Posted by: Hornet on May 6, 2009 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Why would any thinking person assume that a gay nominee is necessarily someone on the ideological fringe?"

Since the non scientifically inclined conservatives still insist that gays are inherently child molesters, statistics to the contrary, the answer to your question is - Yes, they probably do assume tht all gays are far left liberas.

Despite the fact the J. Edgar was probably gay and McCarthy's lead lawyer in the Anti-American herings was a queer.

Posted by: Marnie on May 6, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Ann Coulter says Bill Clinton is teh gai. Does this mean Obama can't consider him?

Posted by: ignoreland on May 6, 2009 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Felix Frankfurter?
Come on.

Posted by: pbg on May 6, 2009 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody should ask him if he'd rather have a liberal straight person who would legislate from the bench or a gay conservative strict constructionist.

Posted by: VinnyD on May 6, 2009 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think the GOP would block a nominee to SCOTUS just because he's gay. They all voted for Chief Justice Roberts, right?

Posted by: Pope Ratzo on May 6, 2009 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Why would any thinking person assume that a gay nominee is necessarily someone on the ideological fringe?"

Maybe by "down the middle" the old dork just meant someone from the mainstream of our culture, and he wasn't speaking about judicial philosophy. But I think Mr. Benen knew that.

As for why a potential jurist being culturally mainstream would matter to these guys, I would point out that isn't the idea that culture matters pretty much the whole basis of why we liberals want diversity in certain institutions? That a different background and outlook adds some intangible something?

Unless it is actually more for the role model effect, which is different. Here, too, I would argue that the effect is often overstated - are black Americans inspired by the example of Clarence Thomas? (Now Thurgood Marshall, I'd grant). Are jewish women empowered by the sight of Ruth Ginsberg? I'd think that role models need to be closer to home, and more ubiquitous than one high profile person to have much effect.

(BTW, in my opinion, homosexuality is in the mainstream of our culture. Have these guys turned on a television in the past 5 years? I personally think that denying same sex marriage rights is unconstitutional and codifying discrimination.)

Posted by: flubber on May 6, 2009 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Good lord, Jeff Sessions is starting to look moderate compared to some of his GOP colleagues."

If Sessions needs to flee the GOP and join the Democratic party, I"m fucking outta here.

Posted by: sherifffruitfly on May 6, 2009 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Thune's view must really make the Log Cabin Republicans feel at home. BTW, are they still allowed to have their nose in the tent? Even just the tip? -- sparow, @16:57

Tip -- yes. Nose -- no.

[...] qualifications and merit are important, but homosexuality, regardless of any other factor, is more important. Why? Because Thune says so. -- Steve Benen

Thune is only repeating what he's learnt from Monica Goodling, that sterling example of Regents Law School education.

Posted by: exlibra on May 6, 2009 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Session's statement is disingenuous. Nominating a gay candidate for the job would be a Republican dream come true.

Posted by: Magic Dog on May 6, 2009 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

There have been 110 justices in the Supreme Court. What's the likelihood that none of them have been gay?

Posted by: Bob Munck on May 6, 2009 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

We're a diverse, PC nation. The Supreme court must be expanded to several thousand justices to reflect the diversity of America.

Posted by: Luther on May 6, 2009 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

We're paying attention to the thoughts of people whose beloved President nominated Harriet Miers?

Posted by: Terry on May 6, 2009 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, heh . . . you said "Frankfurter."

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on May 6, 2009 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

With the way this country is going, has anyone ever contemplated maybe just nominating someone because they are SHOCKER COMING "intelligent". Who knows how many gay persons may have been on the Court in the past? In the closet? Never outed? AND WHO BLOODY WELL CARES? WHAT GOES ON IN ANYONE ELSES BEDROOM. IT'S NOBODYS BUSINESS, EXCEPT THE PERSON ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MATTRESS. That is it.

So get out of other peoples bedrooms, unless you want to join in the fun. J*ckasses.

Posted by: Jayeno on May 6, 2009 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Bridge too far" must be a GOP talking point regarding the Supreme Court battle. In a Politico piece yesterday on whether Obama would pick a gay justice, Tony Perkins said:

"I think that would be a bridge too far for him to be honest because that would enter a whole new element into the debate that I don't think he's ready for," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. "A parallel to that would be Bill Clinton's gays in the military battle, which really hurt his agenda from that point forward."

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0509/22106_Page2.html

Posted by: Existenz on May 6, 2009 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well ... I have to agree with Thune, many people outside of our government would react very negatively, and not just White Republican Males. Don't get me wrong, I think it would be awesome to have a gay man, or woman, on the Supreme Court, but our country is one where the foundations of hatred have been laid for centuries and one nomination to the Supreme Court won't change that. Change is coming, and there will come a time when a gay man or woman will be on the Supreme Court, but at this time, I don't think that our country could handle the division amongst its citizens that such a nomination would bring.

Posted by: kcomer on May 6, 2009 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Republican party should pull their heads out of their asses. Homosexuality is mainstream. Wake up all you stuffed shirts! The 1950's are gone. So is McCarthyism. Welcome to the REAL world. Hire people based on their credentials, not their sexual orientation. "Ideologically fringed?" I think the Republican party is ideologically retarded!!!

Posted by: MaryAnn on May 7, 2009 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

The purpose of this statement is so that, when Obama doesn't nominate a gay person (which, as far as we know, isn't in his plans), John Thune can take credit for standing up to the gays.

Since, you know, they have an _agenda_.

Posted by: Whispers on May 7, 2009 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK


Jeremiah Wright is right for once: GOD IS DAMNING America. America Will Be Insignificant In History AS God Is Giving This Nation Over As It Continues To Decay From Within And Attacked From Without.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women (LESBIANS) did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their LUST one toward another; men with men (GAY) working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence (DISEASE) of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;


Litmus Test For Miss CA So Litmus Test For SupCrtJug. The Anti-Christ Will Be A HOMO So A SupCrtJug A HOMO Would Not Be A Surprise.

Romans Chap.1

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


Posted by: PHilton on May 7, 2009 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Tonguejack my shitbox, loony libs!

Posted by: PHilton on May 7, 2009 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Can you not see the hypocrisy in appointing a Homosexual who is qualified over the very best candidate available. What would the be the chances with less than 20% of Americans being Homosexual or Bisexual that the very best candidate would come from that group? It is becoming an arguement for affirmative action in favor of Homosexuals. Its time to get the fervor under control. The SCOTUS is far to important to fill it with justices bc they are gay, black, latino, female or any other pet project of the left. It must be the best possible qualified individual and then if that person falls into any above listed category then we shouldnt hold that up as a reason to not support the appointment. If you set out to appoint some minority you severely limit the candidate pool which is negligence. How many of you would like to have seen the brilliant leagl mind of Harriet Myers at work simply bc she was a woman?

Posted by: Mike on May 7, 2009 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

I have to say I would rather a lesbian over somebody like Barney Frank... The way he plays grab ass at the capitol is enough to make one puke .. I think a woman would be less apt to flaunt this in public...After all isn't your sexuality your private business??? why does Barney Frank feel it necessary the whole world know he takes it up the bum???
OH WELL,

Posted by: oh well on May 7, 2009 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

So are we going to make sure this gay supreme court nominee is actually gay? Will they be required to perform a public homosexual act to ensure that they are actually gay and not Anne Heche gay?

The progressives among us are as bad as the Pharisees who wanted to check an make sure someone was REALLY circumcised.

Posted by: ebs on May 7, 2009 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP is in the business of saying they believe in being non-intrusive in people's private lives,yet they scream bloody hell and pull evil nasty tricks when it comes to people's private lives: sex,sexuality,abortion rights,et al. The republicans are paranoid,uptight,tight ass control freaks. And behind closed doors the men are all bottoms.

Posted by: Bugs Bunny on May 7, 2009 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

I don't believe I have ever heard a gay or lesbian say " Tonguejack my shitbox ". Sounds like the thread hit some one too close to home.

Posted by: ed on May 7, 2009 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

Ha, ha, ha !!!

Republicans are still acting like they actually have a VOICE in the process.

BWahahahahahahahahahahahahah !

Posted by: '08AMA on May 7, 2009 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

Jesus, please save me from your followers !

Posted by: '08ama on May 7, 2009 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

A tiny part of me would love to see Obama nominate a judge who's male, white, young, pro-life, pro-gun, anti-union, anti-environment, anti-affirmative action, and belts out show tunes in drag on weekends at the local bar.

Just how bad do they want a conservative?


Just a tiny part.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on May 7, 2009 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

toowearyforoutrage, I'll take that Judge.

Posted by: Hummer on May 7, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Why shouldn't he appoint a gay person? No one he's appointed has any morals, so why not pick an immoral person to the Supremes?

Posted by: J Smith on May 7, 2009 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Damnation! Who opened the gates to the raging homophobe asylum? oh well, ebs, and J Smith seem to be competing to outdo each other in ignorance and intolerance. PHilton is just pathetic. Anyone who obsesses that much over homosexuality is likely just terrified of being outed. I wonder - does homophobia cause stupidity, or is it merely a symptom?

Posted by: jjcomet on May 7, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Whoever they are, I still never get to decide how my rights are infringed upon.

Posted by: Rev. Hellbound Alleee on May 7, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

What's weird to me is that I know, for a fact, and from first-hand acquaintance, that Thune had the backing of some ultra-rich gay mafia types in California. People, who actively financed his campaign.

Obviously, (or maybe not so obviously) if you are uber-rich, law affecting personal rights and general cultural discrimination is not a practical, personal concern. Taxes and labor law might be. And, these venture capitalists are among the most narcissistic people I have ever come across, but Thune was their guy.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder on May 7, 2009 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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