Kathleen M. Sullivan, an openly lesbian
former Stanford Law School dean, is being mentioned as a possible
nominee to replace Justice David H. Souter on the Supreme Court.
Sullivan's name appears on short lists
of nominees published by both the Washington
Post and the Wall
Justice Souter, 69, announced plans to
retire at the end of the term in June on Friday. Reports indicate
that he has grown disenchanted with Washington and yearns to return
to his life in Concord, New Hampshire. Souter, who was nominated by
the first George Bush, is considered a disappointment by
conservatives for his liberal record.
Sullivan is one of America's leading
scholars on constitutional law. She became the first female dean of
any school at Stanford, taking over the Law School, in 1999. In
2004, she stepped down from her post as dean to serve as the
inaugural director of the Stanford Center on Constitutional Law.
Sullivan has filed “friend of the
court” briefs in several high-profile Supreme Court cases dealing
with gay rights, including the 1986 case that upheld the
criminalization of being gay (Bowers v. Hardwick) and its
antipode, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws 17