I am not Elena Kagan’s most enthusiastic fan, but seriously. What is up with all the lesbian rumors? It’s like the entire mainstream media is on a gay witch hunt. Please remind me of how Ms. Kagan’s sexuality has any bearing on her qualifications as a Supreme Court Justice?
I just googled “Kagan lesbian” to see what kinds of headlines would pop up. The first 5:
1) “Put a Lesbian on the Supreme Court Even If Kagan Isn’t” (BusinessWeek)
2) “Wall Street Journal Claims Ignorance on Kagan-Lesbian-Softball Connection” (Gawker)
3) “Excellent Blog About Elena Kagan and the ‘Lesbian Panic'” (San Francisco Chronicle)
4) “Elena Kagan Lesbian Rumor Smear Neither Smear Nor Rumor” (OutsidetheBeltway.com)
5) “No Lesbian on Supreme Court Shortlist? Maybe, Maybe Not” (Towleroad.com)
The Wall Street Journal ran a photo of Kagan playing softball on the front page earlier this week under a headline that read: “Court Nominee Comes to Plate,” and suddenly the media and blogs were up in arms about the suggestion that she was a lesbian. Because… softball = lesbian? What are you, 12?
Conservatives (particularly the Christian right wing) try to make Kagan’s sexuality relevant by suggesting that, as a SCOTUS Justice, she will be pushing the “lesbian agenda.” I’ve done a lot of serious thinking on the issue, and I honestly can’t imagine what the “lesbian agenda” might be. Will she push for (gasp!) gender neutral bathrooms? Well I think that’s a great idea! Is she gonna support gay rights and gay marriage? I hope so. So, forgive me for asking, but what exactly is the problem here?
What really saddens me is that women in politics can’t really win no matter what level of femininity and “normative” sexuality they display. Women like Kagan and Hilary Clinton get crucified for their pants suits and lack of femininity, but if Kagan looked like Sarah Palin and had 9 children, the media would be up in arms about what a terrible mother she is. Really, Kagan? You have time to be on the Supreme Court when you have 9 kids to raise? Don’t you have a husband to go home and bake for?
You know who does have 9 children? Justice Scalia. And I absolutely loved political pundit Michael Kinsley’s cheeky blog post on the subject:
Now that the sex lives of Supreme Court justices have become grist for commentators, we are finally free to discuss a question formerly only whispered about in the shadows: Why does Justice Antonin Scalia, by common consent the leading intellectual force on the Court, have nine children? Is this normal? Or should I say “normal,” as some people choose to define it? Can he represent the views of ordinary Americans when he practices such a minority lifestyle? After all, having nine children is far more unusual in this country than, say, being a lesbian.
Let me be clear: the issue is not the fact that Scalia has chosen to have nine children. That is his personal business. The question is whether he is an extremist advocate of the so-called “Nine Children Agenda.” Can he deal open-mindedly with children’s issues when he has so many himself? Can he persuade his children to recuse themselves when appropriate (or, in the vernacular, “Just shut up, will you? I’m trying to write an opinion here. Sweetheart, could you please come and take him…stop climbing up my leg…watch it with that glass of water, buddy…no, that’s some condemned prisoner’s brief that daddy has to reject, so don’t …would somebody please take this kid…LOOK OUT for the… Jesus H. Christ, how am I supposed to get any work done”?).
Speculation is already rampant about why Scalia chose nine children over a more conventional lifestyle. Is he a sex maniac? That suspicion naturally arises. But perhaps once he started, he just never got around to stopping. Or maybe he just likes children. In recent days, Scalia’s friends have rushed to his defense, going out of their way to portray him as a model of sexual restraint. “Every Friday a bunch of us used to go down to this bar to pick up women,” one of his college roommates recalls. “We’d always ask Nino if he wanted to join us, but he always said he was too busy studying. Frankly, we thought he was gay.”
Honestly, the choice to have 9 children worries me a whole lot more than the choice (or, non-choice) to be a lesbian. Upon consideration, I wonder what this says about Justice Scalia’s logic and responsible decision-making abilities. If you can’t get it together to use a condom, how are you going to be a wise and reasoned leader of the conservative wing of the Supreme Court?
Food for thought.