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Supreme Politics

May 17, 2009

In light of the momentum that is building on the marriage equality front, the Washington Post is reporting that same sex marriage may be the flash point in the upcoming hearings around a new Supreme Court justice.

“This is kind of like the abortion debate 30 years ago. Some states changed their laws; some didn’t,” said Jordan Lorence, senior counsel for the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, who counseled New Hampshire Republicans on the religious exclusion, and whose group is active in other state and federal cases.

“Does the Supreme Court come in with a Roe v. Wade trump card?” Lorence asked. “How this is all going to play out over time, I think the new Supreme Court nominee is going to be a factor . . . which makes it a legitimate area of questioning.”

The article focuses on the likely challenge to the “Defense of Marriage Act,” which allows states to ignore marriages performed in other states.  The article discusses how the hearings could be driven towards gay rights issues if Elena Kagan, a driving force behind the attempts to kick military recruiters off college campuses to protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is the President’s nominee.

However, they article doesn’t discuss if an openly gay nominee was put forward.  If Kathleen Sullivan or Pam Karlan, both lesbians, were nominated, it would certainly change the dynamic of a hearing where conservatives are trying to focus on gay rights issues.  If the person being questioned on gay rights issues is gay, it humanizes the issue and becomes less of an abstract legal concept, and more of the personal attack it truly is.

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